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Rare look at animals in the ocean twilight zone

The ocean is so vast that it can be hard for scientists to find the species they want to study. That’s why two ocean robots are better than one for capturing these rarely-seen glimpses of twilight zone animals!

During an October 2023 Nautilus Live expedition to the Geologist Seamounts–about 60 miles (100 km) southwest of Hawai’i’s Big Island– researchers used the University of New Hampshire’s uncrewed surface vessel DriX to find the best place to deploy WHOI’s hybrid remotely operated vehicle (HROV) Mesobot– right into dense patches of marine life! Because these animals migrate between surface waters at night and deeper regions during the day, they captured this footage at the relatively shallow depth of 328 feet (100 meters).

It’s all part of a co-robotics experiment aboard the Ocean Exploration Trust’s E/V Nautilus, funded by NOAA Ocean Exploration via the Ocean Exploration Cooperative Institute (OECI) to advance the pace of ocean exploration through innovation with teams from OET, WHOI, University of New Hampshire, and the University of Rhode Island.

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