After making several transects of the Alabama Alps today and comparing Oceana’s observations with those from previous scientific investigations, we believe to have a fairly good snapshot of the area.
Based on what we saw from the ROV footage and CTD scans, there are no obvious signs that this area was harmed by the recent Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Here’s Oceana conducting a CTD scan: http://www.vimeo.com/14927235
In only a few short hours, we saw a diverse and abundant underwater community, teeming with life. This section of “The Pinnacles” was covered by a wide variety of invertebrates, including a number of species of corala and spongea. Everywhere the ROV looked, black cup coral, sea whips, crinoids and gorgonians were in view.
We also spotted a moray eel and scorpionfish as well as amberjacks, bigeye, butterfly fish, angelfish, starfish, basket stars, and arrow and hermit crabs. This is certainly an area worthy of protection.
Tomorrow, Oceana will explore an even deeper site on the edge of DeSoto Canyon, only 25 miles from the Deepwater Horizon drilling disaster. This is especially important given the continued reports that oil is being found on the seafloor in this area.