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Mountains of Biodiversity – Seafloor Sightings from the Naifeh Seamounts

During Nautilus’ first-ever expedition to Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument (PMNM), the team surveyed two clusters of seamounts north of Gardner Pinnacles / ‘Ōnūnui,‘Ōnūiki and French Frigate Shoals/ Lalo. Before ROVs Hercules and Argus descended on these features in the Naifeh Seamount chain – the northwestern cluster of mountains – no human eyes had ever encountered these breathtaking and productive deep sea ecosystems and volcanic formations. Along with geologic samples from each of the five previously unexplored seamounts, our team documented previously undescribed life from depths of over 2000 meters. Species that could not be identified as known species from other locations within PMNM or around the Pacific were sampled, when allowed by permit conditions and will provide experts around the world specimens to study and describe for years ahead.

Learn more about the history and management of Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument.

Contributed by Science Communication Fellows Alix Leszczynski & Nevada Winrow

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