Whales get a second life as deep-sea buffets

Date: October 15, 2020

Source: Science News for Students
Author: Stephen Ornes

Last October, a team of marine explorers sent Hercules — a remote-controlled vehicle — to the bottom of the ocean. Its mission: to visit an octopus neighborhood. It was off the coast of central California, near an undersea volcano. Late one night, after scanning a long stretch of empty seafloor, Hercules’ spotlight and camera revealed a parade of curious creatures. First was a slender bottom-feeder called an eelpout. It was half-buried in the sediment. Then came a sea pig — a squishy thing that looks like a living pink balloon, but with tentacles.

“And another sea pig and another sea pig,” said Chad King, a marine researcher leading the watch. He works at the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary in California.

“A whole squadron of sea pigs,” added Megan Cook, who runs educational programs for the Ocean Exploration Trust based in Old Lyme, Conn. This research nonprofit ran the expedition.

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