This past spring NCCOS scientists and their partners explored and mapped part of the seafloor in the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary (see May 30 news post). The data gathered are being used to fill gaps in sanctuary maps, characterize seafloor habitat, and help inform management decisions within and around the sanctuary.
The team’s remotely operated vehicle, launched from NOAA research vessel Bell M. Shimada, collected photos and videos of corals, rockfishes, Great Pacific octopuses, and Sixgill sharks—like the one seen in the video below, found 300 feet deep in the Santa Cruz Canyon.
The Sixgill shark, also called the Bluntnose Sixgill shark, resides in temperate and tropical seas around the world. This shark has six gill slits (unlike most other sharks, which have only five), and averages lengths of 15 to 16 feet at maturity. The Sixgill is primarily a deepwater shark that lives over the outer continental shelf, resting along the bottom during the day to depths of 6,500 feet, then swimming into shallow waters at night to feed.