Despite the Gulf’s proximity to land, much of it is still unexplored.
When you dip your toes into the warm water on a picture-perfect Gulf Coast beach, chances are you’re not thinking of the tons of aquatic curiosities lurking far beneath its surface. These photos might change your mind.
The images were taken during an NOAA expedition aboard the Okeanos Explorer—the only federally funded U.S. ship dedicated to deep ocean exploration—which set out in late November to explore and document deep-water regions of the Gulf. Their research, among other things, aims to identify vulnerable marine habitats and potential areas for protection.
Related: Meet Our 2017 Ocean Heroes:
What they saw and shared is nothing short of stunning—beautiful sea stars, colorful fish, and, well, let’s just say creatures that are quite different than what we're used to seeing closer to the surface.
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