A glimpse at Davidson Seamount

Seamounts (underwater mountains) make up a a huge cumulative habitat type in the ocean, and distinct biological communities can exist on the same underwater feature.  As a part of an investigation by MBARI, Davidson Seamount and others offshore of California were surveyed with an ROV, and yielded some pretty spectacular underwater footage.

You can read more about this work at Davidson in this PLoS ONE article, authored by Dr. Craig McClain (of DSN notoriety) and colleagues.  If you listen closely to the narration in the video, you’ll hear Lonny Lundsten, a coauthor on the study, mention the idea that seamounts, while providing unique habitat in the open ocean, are not necessary the hosts of endemic species (species that are restricted to a single geographic locale).  More about that here.

[video:  MBARI on YouTube]

Live deep-sea footage

The Visions ’11 cruise is streaming live deep-sea video footage via an ROV puttering around in the depths.  Read more about the cruise here and check out the live video feed here.  (If you’re having trouble with the feed, right click/command click on the video, hit ‘settings’ and uncheck the ‘enable hardware acceleration’ box.)  This leg of the cruise is over Axial Seamount in the Pacific.

Via Alden Denny, geology and GIS extraordinaire.  You can follow expedition updates on the twitter machine @VISIONS11ops.

The deep sea of the Coral Triangle

Last year, Dr. Tim Shank led an expedition into the deep sea of the Coral Triangle, finding dozens of new species. The diversity of species the team is describing may be evidence for a deep-sea Wallace line. Read more at the Economist.

Photography from the Shackleton Expedition

The NPR blog, The Picture Show, has a great post and series of images up today about Frank Hurley.  Hurley sailed to Antarctica with Sir Ernest Shackleton on the Endurance expedition as a photographer in 1914.  After the Endurance became trapped, Hurley and Shackleton picked a mere 120 of the weighty photographic plates to bring with them, leaving the rest along with Hurley’s color photography gear.  The below images were captured by Hurley, who visited Antarctica six times between 1911 and 1932, using glass Paget plate phototransparency.

The images above can be accessed on The State Library of New South Wales’ Flickr page (no known copyright restrictions for this set).  You can view more of Hurley’s photography from the expedition there, and at the NPR article mentioned.

h/t Jad Abumrad on Twitter.  Jad is a host of Radiolab, easily my favorite podcast (but you can find an actual station too!).