The Chukchi Borderlands is located some 600 miles north of the Bering Strait, 800 miles south of the North Pole at the entrance to the Arctic Ocean. Cold and fresh waters from the Pacific Ocean merges with the warm and salty Atlantic waters in this area of deep-sea plateaus and complex topography. Much of the life that exists within these waters is unknown and researchers are working to better understand this biological community.
Between July 2 and August 10, 2016, researchers onboard the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy sailed to Arctic’s Chukchi Borderlands to learn more about life deep within the oceans.
Named after the character in the Disney film about a flying elephant, this octopus was found 900 feet below the surface. Belonging to the Cirrata suborder, these finned deep-sea octopods use fins as their primary means of locomotion instead of jet propulsion like most octopus.
Jellies of the Arctic
Jellyfish and ctenophores in the Arctic come in a variety of shapes and sizes. This jellyfish, Benthocodon hyalinus, is found in the water column throughout the Pacific Ocean, from the Arctic Ocean to Antarctica.
Aulacoctena sp. is a large softball-sized cydippid ctenophore from the deep waters of the Arctic Ocean. Alaska, Beaufort Sea, North of Point Barrow. As with other comb jellies, Aulacoctena do not have stinging cells unlike jellyfish.
Arctic zooplankton are the smallest animals in the Arctic and are an important link in the Arctic food web between primary producers and upper trophic levels like sea birds, fish, and whales.