This gallery highlights some of the unusual creatures at the heart of a recent Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) Op-Ed on Live Science's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights.

Deep beneath the ocean off the U.S. Atlantic coast, forests of sea creatures thrive. New species are being discovered on the sea beds all the time, but a new report from the NRDC — "The Atlantic's Deep Sea Treasures," — warns that deep-sea trawling and energy exploration are putting those ecosystems at risk. Read more in the Expert Voices Op-Ed "Coral Thrive Off U.S. Atlantic Coast, But Threatened" and see a gallery of some of the exotic creatures below.

A creature from the past?

One of the more strange-looking animals NOAA researchers came across in Veatch Canyon, a bathysaurus. These fish use their lower jaw to scoop in the sand. (Credit: Image courtesy of NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, 2013 Northeast U.S. Canyons Expedition.)


Weird and wonderful

As seen in Heezen Canyon, an eelpout rests on the seafloor. (Credit: Image courtesy of NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, 2013 Northeast U.S. Canyons Expedition.)


An unusual combination

A porcupine crab makes its way over the muddy seafloor bottom. (Credit: Image courtesy of NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, 2013 Northeast U.S. Canyons Expedition.)


Home to the odd

NOAA Ship Ferdinand R. Hassler's mapping coverage in the Block Canyon area, overlaid on mapping data from NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer. (Credit: Image courtesy of NOAA Ship Ferdinand R. Hassler.)


Beautiful colors of the deep

A striking purple coral, a species of Clavularia, seen in Nygren Canyon. (Credit: Image courtesy of NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, 2013 Northeast U.S. Canyons Expedition.)


Smile for the camera

An octopus strikes a pose for the NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer's remotely operated vehicle near Shallop Canyon. (Credit: Image courtesy of NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, 2013 Northeast U.S. Canyons Expedition.)


Freakish creature

A seaspider, or pycnogonid, seen while exploring Oceanographer Canyon. (Credit: Image courtesy of NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, 2013 Northeast U.S. Canyons Expedition.)


Snack time

A king crab explores the soft sediment on the sea floor. (Credit: Image courtesy of NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, 2013 Northeast U.S. Canyons Expedition.)


What a creature

A chimaera swims lazily a couple meters above the seafloor in Lydonia Canyon. (Credit: Image courtesy of NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, 2013 Northeast U.S. Canyons Expedition.)

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