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Into the Deep

Journey at Home Day 54

Creatures that live in the depth of the ocean are fascinating. The Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) along with the Monterey Bay Aquarium has been running a Mysteries of the Deep webinar. Today was the last of the series and the first of the series that I watched. I was lured in because the topic was cephalopods. Octopus, squid, and nautilus are examples of cephalopods. This webinar was concerned with those that live in the deep ocean.

MBARI is located in Moss Landing, about mid way between Santa Cruz and Monetrey. They chose this location for their research station because it is at the head of Monterey Submarine Canyon, the largest underwater canyon on the West Coast. It's a mile deep. MBARI has many cool remote vehicles (ROV) for exploring the canyon. One, a rover, stays on the bottom surveying in much the same way the Mars rover explored Mars. So far, it has explored 11 km of the sea floor. Another ROV analyzes sea water for DNA to determine what creatures have swum by recently. All the creatures I saw today were movies taken by one of the remotes.

A few of the cephalopods featured on the webinar:

  • A three-inch Japetella octopus which is covered with beautiful chromatophores

  • The flapjack octopus

  • A Humboldt squid attacking and eating prey, later inking

  • A brooding octopus, who will die after her eggs hatch

  • A vampire squid, which is neither a squid nor a vampire, but a beautiful octopod

  • Grimalditeuthis bonpland, a squid that uses a lure on the end of a tenacle to lure prey

  • A chambered nautilus, which can't go too deep because it has air sacs that would cause it to crush

I learned a lot about the behavior of these creatures, and more! Like the plural of octopus is octopusses, not to be confused with octopods which are different. Octopi? The researchers said that's eight pies. Don't use it to refer to our cephalopod friends.

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