CSIRO’s specialized cameras capture new species 4,000 meters below the ocean

Flying sea cucumbers, glowing spiny sea urchins, and giant lobsters have been captured by specialized cameras in the deep waters off the Australian coast.

The two cameras revealed unprecedented behaviors, including sea cucumbers – nicknamed “headless chicken monsters” – that appear to fly.

The depth camera system sank nearly 4,000 meters into the waters of Gascoigne Marine Park in Western Australia, while the Remote Underwater Video System (DeepBRUVS) reached 1,000 meters.

DeepBruvs was designed by CSIRO’s Tasmanian engineering and technology team and has passed its experimental stage and is now running with updated systems.

The cameras have the ability to capture high definition videos and pictures of the sea floor.

The never-before-seen images will help better support marine research and management.

“We have amazing footage of sea cucumbers springing from the sea floor as if they were flying across the water with amazing color and beautiful focus,” said Dr. John Kessing, CSIRO’s chief scientist.

“You can’t beat being able to see what they looked like in their natural habitat, alive and well at those depths.”

Spiny sea urchin with blue stripes
Blue-striped sea urchin captured by DeepBRUV showed brilliant iridescence.(CSIRO: Frederick Oliver)
Thin straw looks like glass on a yellow background
The giant glass spines of deep water glass sponges can grow over three meters long.(CSIRO: Frederick Oliver)

By deploying baits remotely, DeepBRUVS lures species into the lens that would normally avoid other scientific tools like nets.

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