Scientists Don’t Know What to Do With This Weird ‘Blue Goo’ Ocean Organism : ScienceAlert


Unidentified “Blue Goo” creatures from the deep sea recently had scientists scratching their heads after spotting the mysterious blobs hanging from the sea floor in the Caribbean.

During a live stream of the expedition, team members discussed what the gooey globules might be, but none of the researchers could come up with a definitive answer.

Several blue creatures were sighted on August 30 by scientists piloting a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) near the seabed around St. Croix, one of the US Virgin Islands.

The mysterious blobs were discovered motionless on the seafloor between 1,335 and 2,005 feet (407 and 611 meters) below the waterline.

The researchers piloted the ROV from aboard the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) research vessel Okeanos Explorer, which has spent the past four months surveying sections of the North Atlantic as part of NOAA’s Voyage to the Ridge 2022 exploration series.

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As with every other dive during these expeditions, the footage was live streamed by NOAA for deep sea enthusiasts from around the world to enjoy.

During the live stream, researchers spotted and zoomed in on one of the unusual blue creatures and began discussing what it might be.

Some observers noted that it was likely either a soft coral or a sponge, and possibly even a tunicate — gelatinous marine invertebrates sometimes called sea squirts.

The team suggested a number of possible nicknames, including “bumpy blue thing,” “blue biomat,” and “blue goo.”

Related: 10 Weird Creatures Found In The Deep Sea In 2021

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The expedition members could only agree on what the mysterious creature was not.

“I can tell you it’s not a stone, but that’s all I can say,” one researcher joked.

Other notable sightings from the dive include a green-eyed fish (Chlorophthalmidae), a hatchet (Sternoptychidae), a whisker (polymixia), a glass sponge (Hexactinellida), bamboo coral (Isididae), a fossilized coral reef, and a rarely observed sea urchin orgy, according to NOAA.

The team will now begin the lengthy process of identifying the enigmatic blue slime.

In the live stream, the researchers said they would send pictures and video from the dive to coral and sponge experts to see if they can identify the puzzling spots.

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This is no easy task as there are around 2,000 species of soft corals according to the World Register of Marine Species; around 8,500 species of sponges according to NOAA; and around 3,000 species of tunicates, according to the Smithsonian Ocean Institute.

If experts can’t identify the species, “the mystery remains until a sample can be taken,” the scientists said.

The team thinks this sticky mystery is the perfect example of what makes these expeditions so entertaining and important – for viewers and scientists alike.

“There’s always at least one thing that amazes you,” said one researcher.

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This article was originally published by Live Science. Read the original article here.



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