I think my favorite thing to see are brittle stars (Ophuiroidea), related to starfish and sea urchins. They're really cool to look at, but very fragile, so often their legs are dispersed throughout the sample! I've also seen a handful of squid beaks! Even though it's only a piece of these amazing creatures, it's still exciting to know there are so many of them out there. I've begun thinking more about what all of these diverse organisms are like when they are still alive, burrowing, feeding and traveling across the deep-sea floor. Can they see? Is it dark down there? Are they as boggled by each other as I am by them? It's funny yet fascinating - being able to poke and prod around in a piece of habitat from the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico.
|Brittle star (Ophuiroidea)|
|Meaghan Faletti, FSU|