he ROPOS remotely operated vehicle (Credit: Canadian Scientific Submersible Facility)
Researchers onboard the R/V Falkor discovered a herd of sea urchins living in an undersea canyon full of kelp debris, according to chief scientist Kim Juniper’s daily log of the second leg of the Open Ocean to Inner Seas expedition.
The crew sent the Canadian Scientific Submersible Facility funded ROPOS remotely operated vehicle into the Barkley Canyon off the west coast of North America, where a French scientists identified kelp from satellite imagery.
Researchers estimate that pink sea urchins covered 10,000 square meters of the sea floor, eating the kelp.
The observation was an anecdotal indicator that dissolved oxygen concentrations were high enough to sustain fauna, despite the fact that oxygen depleting bacteria also have a taste for dead kelp.
Image: he ROPOS remotely operated vehicle (Credit: Canadian Scientific Submersible Facility)