Launching ROVs to explore Astoria Canyon provided scientists including oceanographers and geochemists a wealth of knowledge about methane seeps that were mapped by E/V Nautilus. The dive also demonstrated an abundance of biodiversity. Around 850 meters deep on the canyon floor, researchers and viewers around the world observed a number of benthic invertabrates including seastars, anemones, and sea cucumbers. As the ROVs ascended the canyon wall a plethora of octupuses were observed, as well as crinoids, urchins, anemones and deep sea corals. The area appeared to be supercharged with methane. The seep sites were actively releasing the gas in bubbles and were surrounded by chemosynthetic bacterial mats.
ROV Hercules was able to successfully sample sediment cores, slurps, methane gas, carbonate substrate, and a few carefully selected biological samples. In some images you can see the beauty of the seafloor through ROV Argus‘s eyes. In others you can see ROV Hercules collect these valuable biological and geological samples. The beauty of the deep sea speaks for itself in these stunning images of marine life.