Sea life in Cascadia
Starfish and other sea life on the ocean floor near newly discovered methane seeps in the Cascadia region. Methane seeps attract methanophiles, or organisms that live off the hydrocarbon gas. They thus form the basis of largely unexplored ocean ecosystems.
Researchers aboard the Nautilus took temperature readings and seafloor and water samples from the seep site, as well as samples from bacterial mats growing around the seeps.
Close-up on a seep
Methane ice lines a newly discovered methane seep off the coast of the Pacific Northwest. This ice is known as methane clathrate or methane hydrate, and it's made of methane molecules trapped between molecules of water. Around the seeps are bacterial mats made of organisms that live off the methane gas.
Researchers discovered the bubble plume from this seep using sonar. The seep is in the middle of the Astoria submarine canyon, an unexpected spot for such a seep, according to researchers with the Ocean Exploration Trust.
Bubbles and dots
Reach for the stars
The researchers watching the camera feed from their ROV commented on how many bubbles they were seeing at these seeps, with plenty of "wow" comments.