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Deep-Sea Biology  

Benthic Cnidaria and Porifera

These are polyp animals in two large classes: hydras (hydrozoans), and anemones, corals and seapens (anthozoans); these are typically carnivores with tentacles having stinging cells (with nematocysts or capsules with barbed threads). (Note there are also planktonic cnidaria--cubozoans and scyphozoans or jellies--not shown here). Seapens (colonies of tiny polyps) sit vertically with a fleshy stalk in the mud;they often have a brittle star on them that is up in the current to catch detritus.

Porifera (sponges) typically filter-feed by drawing water in through small side pores, trapping food on collar cells, and exuding water out the large top opening.

A. California/Oregon/Washington Bathyal and Abyssal
(a) = abyssal plain (2300-2850m), (b) = bathyal zone--continental slope (1800-2000m) off Newport, Oregon; (mb) = 2000-3000m in Monterey Bay Canyon; (jdr)=Juan de Fuca ridge off British Columbia, 2300m
Click pictures for larger images.
Paractinostola faeculenta
anemone (b)*
unidentified (a)*
Anemone Actinauge
abyssorum (a,ob)
on wood, and on tubeworm
Paradiopatra sp
Octocoral Umbellula (a) White anemone (a)
Coral2 (b)* hydroid?
Coral (b)* --hydroid?
Unknown anemone from near Juan de Fuca Ridge (jdr; 2300m) Unknown anemone from Monterey Bay Canyon (mb; 3000m) Actinauge verrillii anemone (mb; 3000m)
Actinauge or hormathiid
anemone (mb; 3000m)
Stylatula gracile seawhip (mb; 200-1500m) Silica sponge (a)
Hyalonema sp.
Anemone Actinauge
abyssorum (a,ob) on tubeworm
Paradiopatra sp

Those with "*" are ones we haven't identified at the species level. The "silica sponge" has long glass fiber-optic-like fibers for anchoring in the mud.

B. California/Oregon Subtidal
Calif. slope off Eureka (510-525m) and Hydrate Ridge (600m) off Newport, Oregon (Alvin and ROV video images).
Click pictures for larger images.
The deepsea mushroom coral Anthomastus ritteri (anthozoan colony, relative of corals, anemones, seapens; looks like toadstool when withdrawn)--lives 200-1500 m deep. Underwater photos are ROV and Alvin pictures; the 2nd photo I took off collected specimens; all are from Eel River Seeps off Eureka Calif, 510-520m. Righthand picture I took at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute; see the related aquarium website info page on this weird animal. See Seeps and Vents page for more submersible images
with brittle stars
Unidentified anemones from Calif. (520m) and Oregon (600m) sites. Amazing sponges (*; 70-1100m) seen while exploring new territory at 520m with ROV, 4/2001

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