"Scientists Exploring Offshore Canyons for Atlantic Deep-Sea Corals"

"Seventy miles off Ocean City, scientists aboard the federal research vessel Henry B. Bigelow are exploring a lush underwater landscape that until recently few would have imagined — colorful corals clinging to the rocky slopes of deep-sea canyons.

On this and other research cruises, remotely guided submersible cameras have captured scenes of bubblegum corals, sea whips and more growing in the dark, hundreds to thousands of feet below the Atlantic Ocean's surface. Other smaller patches dot the ocean floor in shallower waters closer to shore. Cold-water relatives of the showy corals found in warm tropical seas, these also harbor a rich variety of fish, sponges and other marine life.

"the Deep Sea Is Not Just This Barren Place — There's Amazing Things That Live Down There," Said Martha Nizinski, a National Marine Fisheries Service Zoologist Leading the Bigelow's Recent Exploratory cruise off the Delmarva Peninsula."

Timothy B. Wheeler reports for the Baltimore Sun August 11, 2014.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014