The mysterious "blue sticky substance" on the ocean floor is confusing scientists. Unidentified unexplained spots confuse researchers.
Scientists were stunned by unidentified deep-sea "blue sticky" organisms when they discovered mysterious droplets suspended on the Caribbean seafloor. These sticky globules were discussed during the livestream of the journey, but none of the researchers were able to provide a definitive explanation.
One of the US Virgin Islands, St. Croix, researchers using a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) near the bottom observed several blue sticky creatures on Aug. At 30 to 1,335 feet (2,005 to 407 meters) below the water surface, the strange spots were found to be motionless on the seafloor.
As part of NOAA's "Voyage to the Ridge 2022" exploration series, researchers have spent the previous four months exploring various regions of the North Atlantic with the research vessel Okeanos Explorer. From there they started the ROV. The footage was streamed live by NOAA for deep-sea enthusiasts around the world to watch, just like every dive before these expeditions.
Researchers spotted one of the strange blue animals during the live video, got close to it, and began discussing what it might be. Some witnesses noticed that it was probably a soft coral, sponge, or perhaps a tunicate with gelatinous marine invertebrates also known as sea squirts.
The group suggested various potential names, including "blue goo", "blue biomat" and "bumpy blue stuff".
The only thing the expedition team could agree on was what this mysterious creature wasn't.
“I can tell you it's not a rock, but that's all I can say,” one researcher jokingly said.
According to NOAA, divers also found a green-eye fish (Chlorophthalmidae), a hatchetfish (Sternoptychidae), a beard fish (Polymixia), a glass sponge (Hexactinellida), bamboo coral (Isididae), a fossilized coral reef, and a rare marine they saw a sea urchin realm with urchins.
During the live broadcast, the researchers claimed they would send photos and images from the dive to coral and sponge experts to see if they could help identify the mysterious spots.
This is a difficult endeavor considering there are approximately 2.000 soft coral species, 8.500 sponge species and approximately 3.000 tunicate species, according to Smithsonian Ocean Institute, World Register of Marine Species data.
The scientists stated that if experts are unable to identify the species, "the mystery will remain until a sample is collected."
According to the crew, this sticky puzzle is an ideal example of what makes these trips exciting and important to scientists and audiences alike.
Says one researcher: “There is always at least one thing that surprises you.