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Published on Dec 14, 2006
In 2003, scientists completed a 64-day cruise to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands onboard the University of Hawaii's Research Vessel Ka'imikai-o-Kanaloa, using the Pisces IV and V submersibles. They studied the region's virtually unexplored deep-sea corals, submarine canyons, and seamounts. One objective of the expedition was to learn how endangered Hawaiian monk seals use shallow and deep-water habitats for hunting and protection. When scientists dove to a deep-sea coral bed, they were shocked to see an endangered Hawaiian monk seal at an amazing depth of 543 meters (1,781 feet).
This was the first time a monk seal was documented as being associated with deep-sea precious corals and the first time a monk seal was observed at such a depth, where he showed no sign of stress.
Video courtesy of the Exploring the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands - Ho'ohuli expedition.