At 16:07 yesterday, we were leaned over the bow to watch a dozen bottlenose dolphins leap through the waves. They jumped and splashed around as they rode our bow, and I felt as if we were engaged in an interspecies race. We stand watch for marine mammals all day when we’re on station, and these dolphins have certainly been the star of the show. Meanwhile, we’ve been pulling up some other cool animals in unexpected places.
As we were refurbishing the landers, we noticed a beautiful moth hanging from the battery. We took it off the lander and re-homed him on a plank of wood. Shortly after, we passed the outer banks and suddenly everyone’s phones had service (on the starboard side). Some people phoned home, others updated their apps (like angry birds), and I sent a plea out to my Instagram followers to help me ID the moth. Within a few minutes I got it ID’d by a friend as a Vine Sphinx Moth. Thank you, internet.
Following this encounter, we pulled up another lander which homed an egg bearing crab, some Synaphobranchidae (Cutthroat Eels), and an invertebrate that I still have yet to identify. The diversity of life in and on the ocean is astonishing, and I’m looking forward to finding more cool critters as we continue on our course.
By Mackenzie Meier, University of New Hampshire, Recent Grad.