The world under the ocean is mysterious and beautiful. It also has the potential to be a real party. Sebastian the crab tells us that, "Each little clam here, know how to jam here, under the sea."
However, a 13 to 16-foot baleen whale discovered by the deep-sea research vessel the Nautilus was not cutting a rug like the slugs familiar to Sebastian. It was decomposing and being eaten by octopuses. The Nautilus was completing its last dive in a joint expedition between the Ocean Exploration Trust and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration when it happened upon a whale fall. That's when a whale carcass has fallen to the bottom of the ocean, creating a buffet and habitat for many organisms, which can last years.
Researchers are still determining the exact species of the whale found at the Davidson Seamount off the central-California coast. However, what remained was covered by more than a dozen octopuses and fish enjoying a meal. "Dinner is served," one researcher is heard excitedly saying on the live feed. The researchers are not shy about their absolute joy at finding the carcass.
"While evidence of whale falls have been observed to remain on the seafloor for several years, this appears to be a relatively recent fall with baleen, blubber, and some internal organs remaining," the team wrote. "The site also exhibits an interesting mid-stage of ecological succession, as both large scavengers like eel pouts are still stripping the skeleton of blubber, and bone-eating Osedax worms are starting to consume lipids (fats) from the bones. Other organisms seen onsite include crabs, grenadier, polychaetes, and deep-sea octopus."
Feel the giddiness of the scientists in the video by watching the discovery take place above.
h/t Huffington Post