That expedition was, of course, 4 years ago and the program had just begun. Updates were not as forthcoming. But an opportunity to RETURN to Indonesia? With the benefit of hindsight, experience and further preparation?? That would be awesome!
That area is known as home to probably one of the MOST diverse marine faunas of anywhere in the world. And although there's a lot known from shallow and deep habitats, the deep sea areas (below 200 m) in the Indonesian area will likely make all the stuff R/V Okeanos Explorer and E/V Nautilus have been observing in the Atlantic look like a goldfish bowl by comparison!
A LOT of the species in this area are likely undescribed. A veritable gold mine of biodiversity to be studied! Some of these taxa have no Atlantic members. (It would be even better if these were enhanced by collections of course!)
Here's some highlights that I would love to see again!
1. The Sea Cucumbers
I don't think I've seen ALL the pics but the ones I have were brilliant. This red elasiopod would be something I think everyone should see again...
The oddball swimming sea cucumber with the big lobe: the appropriately named Psychropotes!
and this gorgeous swimming Enypniastes? Or something similar to it.. But wow! Transparent body! You can literally SEE the sediment filled intestine THROUGH the body wall!
2. The Hydrothermal Vents
When people talk about hydrothermal vents, there's 2 or 3 places that register as the most iconic spots.. the Mid-Atlantic and the East Pacific Rise. There's others but one vent site that no one really talks about much? The ones surveyed by Okeanos in Indonesia!
These are the hydrothermal vents found on the undersea volcano Kawio Barat (West Kawio)
Amazingly gorgeous spires created by hydrothermal activity. 0.5 to 1 meter tall active and inactive spires on the summit of the Kawio Barat submarine volcano. Spires observed at 1849 meters depth.
Further venting through some of these chimneys gives us these amazing structures covered by barnacles!
What's that? you want to see those barnacles more close up? here ya' go...
3. The Insane Stalked Crinoid Diversity
One of the very interesting animals noted in the expedition pictures notes was the incredible diversity of stalked crinoids which were observed.. I've only shown two of them below..but the gallery shows many different types of stalked crinoids
.. to say nothing of the feather stars (aka unstalked crinoids)
This red one, as identified by Dr. Marc Eleaume in Paris is likely Proisocrinus ruberrimus
And an likely unidentified member of the Hyocrinidae...
4. Bizarre and wonderous Deep Sea Sponges (Hexactinellid or Glass Sponges? I think)
A wonderous cladorhizid carnivorous sponge from about 1000 m!
A bizarre sponge with unusual body morphology
5. And the underappreciated Slit Shell Snails (Pleurotamariidae)!
I'm honestly not sure how many people recognized a majority of the animals observed on the 2010 dive but some of the shots from the NOAA Photo Library showed some awesome images of that most treasured of marine snails: The Slit Shelled Snail (family Pleurotamariidae).
These snails have always held a certain appeal to shell collectors. The shells are known from the fossil record and have a distinct slotted opening near the shell's opening. They are one of the largest marine snails observed in deep-sea settings..
The images place the slit-shell moving into this gorgeous field of corals..
Some of these snails are predators on echinoderms, such as sea stars and possibly serpent stars (ophiuroids). So, conceivably this one is about to feed...
PLUS! those Hermit Crabs with shells replaced by sea
ONE More GREAT thing?? In situ observations of WOOD FALL COMMUNITIES!
These are some of the weirdest, rarest of deep-sea habitats as written by Craig McClain at Deep-sea news as he's documented here
What are they? Deep-sea communities based entirely on wood from the surface that have fallen to the deeps!!
Some of these species are known ONLY from wood substrates!
But how often do you get to see an established wood fall community?? Here's what looks like those wood-eating urchins I wrote about a few years ago...
and here's a close up of some more urchins and polychaetes
and yeah, there was a LOT more...
Decision Committee?? LET'S GO BACK TO INDONESIA!!!