Photos: Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Monument

The Northeast Canyons and Seamounts National Marine Monument protects 4,913 square miles roughly 150 miles southeast of Cape Cod at the edge of the continental shelf. Three canyons and four extinct volcanoes as tall as the Rockies are home to more than 1,000 species where the shallow waters off the East Coast drop sharply into the depths of the northwestern Atlantic.

Marine biologists are still studying the area’s rare sea life, but Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke recommended that President Trump reduce or eliminate the monument designation and open it to commercial exploitation.

Read story by Michael Walsh: National marine monument off New England still on Trump’s chopping block »

See more news-related photo galleries and follow us on Yahoo News Photo Twitter and Tumblr.

An octopus stretches its tentacles on Physalia Seamount. This animal is a predator like all octopus and squid species and feeds on fish and invertebrates on the seamount. Little detail is known about the lives of many deep-sea creatures. (Photo: NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, 2013 Northeast U.S. Canyons Expedition Science Team)

The squat lobster (genus Euminida) is more closely related to hermit crabs than to true lobsters. They generally fold their tails and hide in crevices on the seafloor or amongs corals. They use their long arms and claws to scavenge food but also can grab large zooplankton and small fish from the water column as they drift by. (Photo: Atlantic Canyons and Seamounts 2014 Science Team/NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program)

Deepwater corals on the western wall of Oceanographer Canyon. (Photo: NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, 2013 Northeast U.S. Canyons Expedition Science Team)

Chimaera (Hydrolagus affinis) are cartilaginous fish most closely related to sharks, also known as ghost sharks and rat fish. This species is most commonly found below 1,000 meters. The pores around the head serve as sensors for small variations in pressure, and with large eyes are used to find invertebrate prey in the twilight depths of the ocean. (Photo: NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, 2013 Northeast U.S. Canyons Expedition Science Team)

This colony of bamboo coral (family Isididae), found along the side of Mytilus Seamount, has crinoids attached to it. (Photo: Northeast Canyons 2013 Science Team/NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program)

If you look closely you can see a ctenophore or comb jelly being digested inside the larger predatory beroid ctenophore. (Photo: NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program; 2013 Northeast U.S. Canyons Expedition Science Team)

This rare glowing dandelion siphonophore is composed of many individual animals working together to absorb nutrients. (Photo: NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program; 2013 Northeast U.S. Canyons Expedition Science Team)

Fan corals (genus Paramuricea) in Oceanographer Canyon. Corals are colonial animals and capture food using tentacles with stinging cells on individual polyps. Polyps are fragile and can be retracted into the coral skeleton for protection from predators, turbulence and other forms of disturbance. The fan on the right has most of its polyps retracted and provides a view of the coral skeleton. (Photo: Northeast Canyons 2013 Science Team/NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program)

An octopus (genus Graneledone) uses a crevice along a wall in Lydonia Canyon for shelter, surrounded by a garden of corals, deep sea mussels and a diversity of other species. (Photo: NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, 2013 Northeast U.S. Canyons Expedition Science Team)

<p><span>An octopus stretches its tentacles on Physalia Seamount. This animal is a predator like all octopus and squid species and feeds on fish and invertebrates on the seamount. Little detail is known about the lives of many deep-sea creatures. (Photo: NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, 2013 Northeast U.S. Canyons Expedition Science Team)</span> </p>
Octopus stretches its tentacles

An octopus stretches its tentacles on Physalia Seamount. This animal is a predator like all octopus and squid species and feeds on fish and invertebrates on the seamount. Little detail is known about the lives of many deep-sea creatures. (Photo: NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, 2013 Northeast U.S. Canyons Expedition Science Team)

<p><span>The squat lobster (genus Euminida) is more closely related to hermit crabs than to true lobsters. They generally fold their tails and hide in crevices on the seafloor or amongs corals. They use their long arms and claws to scavenge food but also can grab large zooplankton and small fish from the water column as they drift by. (Photo: Atlantic Canyons and Seamounts 2014 Science Team/NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program)</span> </p>
Squat lobster

The squat lobster (genus Euminida) is more closely related to hermit crabs than to true lobsters. They generally fold their tails and hide in crevices on the seafloor or amongs corals. They use their long arms and claws to scavenge food but also can grab large zooplankton and small fish from the water column as they drift by. (Photo: Atlantic Canyons and Seamounts 2014 Science Team/NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program)

<p>Sperm whale swimming just outside the monument. (Photo: New England Aquarium’s Anderson Center for Ocean Life aerial survey of Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument, November 2017) </p>
Sperm whale

Sperm whale swimming just outside the monument. (Photo: New England Aquarium’s Anderson Center for Ocean Life aerial survey of Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument, November 2017)

<p><span>Deepwater corals on the western wall of Oceanographer Canyon. (Photo: NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, 2013 Northeast U.S. Canyons Expedition Science Team)</span> </p>
Deepwater corals

Deepwater corals on the western wall of Oceanographer Canyon. (Photo: NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, 2013 Northeast U.S. Canyons Expedition Science Team)

<p><span>Chimaera (Hydrolagus affinis) are cartilaginous fish most closely related to sharks, also known as ghost sharks and rat fish. This species is most commonly found below 1,000 meters. The pores around the head serve as sensors for small variations in pressure, and with large eyes are used to find invertebrate prey in the twilight depths of the ocean. (Photo: NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, 2013 Northeast U.S. Canyons Expedition Science Team)</span> </p>
Chimaera Lydonia

Chimaera (Hydrolagus affinis) are cartilaginous fish most closely related to sharks, also known as ghost sharks and rat fish. This species is most commonly found below 1,000 meters. The pores around the head serve as sensors for small variations in pressure, and with large eyes are used to find invertebrate prey in the twilight depths of the ocean. (Photo: NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, 2013 Northeast U.S. Canyons Expedition Science Team)

<p><span>This colony of bamboo coral (family Isididae), found along the side of Mytilus Seamount, has crinoids attached to it. (Photo: Northeast Canyons 2013 Science Team/NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program)</span> </p>
Bamboo coral Mytilus

This colony of bamboo coral (family Isididae), found along the side of Mytilus Seamount, has crinoids attached to it. (Photo: Northeast Canyons 2013 Science Team/NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program)

<p>Sea stars (class Asteroidea), like this one on Physalia Seamount, generally feed on invertebrates on and in the seafloor but also can climb and prey on coral colonies. (Photo: Atlantic Canyons and Seamounts 2014 Science Team/NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program) </p>
Sea stars Physalia

Sea stars (class Asteroidea), like this one on Physalia Seamount, generally feed on invertebrates on and in the seafloor but also can climb and prey on coral colonies. (Photo: Atlantic Canyons and Seamounts 2014 Science Team/NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program)

<p>A close-up of a crinoid illustrates the pinnules on the long arms used to filter food from the water. (Photo: Northeast Canyons 2013 Science Team/NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program) </p>
Crinoid closeup

A close-up of a crinoid illustrates the pinnules on the long arms used to filter food from the water. (Photo: Northeast Canyons 2013 Science Team/NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program)

<p>Fin whale swimming inside the monument. (Photo: New England Aquarium’s Anderson Center for Ocean Life aerial survey of Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument, November 2017) </p>
Fin whale

Fin whale swimming inside the monument. (Photo: New England Aquarium’s Anderson Center for Ocean Life aerial survey of Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument, November 2017)

<p><span>If you look closely you can see a ctenophore or comb jelly being digested inside the larger predatory beroid ctenophore. (Photo: NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program; 2013 Northeast U.S. Canyons Expedition Science Team)</span> </p>
Ctenophore

If you look closely you can see a ctenophore or comb jelly being digested inside the larger predatory beroid ctenophore. (Photo: NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program; 2013 Northeast U.S. Canyons Expedition Science Team)

<p><span>This rare glowing dandelion siphonophore is composed of many individual animals working together to absorb nutrients. (Photo: NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program; 2013 Northeast U.S. Canyons Expedition Science Team)</span> </p>
Dandelion siphonophore

This rare glowing dandelion siphonophore is composed of many individual animals working together to absorb nutrients. (Photo: NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program; 2013 Northeast U.S. Canyons Expedition Science Team)

<p>Distant relatives of sea stars, crinoids, or sea lilies (class Crinoidea), can perch on corals and capture food that drifts by with the current. Other species of crinoids are stalked and attach to the seafloor. (Photo: Northeast Canyons 2013 Science Team/NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program) </p>
Crinoid sea lilies

Distant relatives of sea stars, crinoids, or sea lilies (class Crinoidea), can perch on corals and capture food that drifts by with the current. Other species of crinoids are stalked and attach to the seafloor. (Photo: Northeast Canyons 2013 Science Team/NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program)

<p>An orange coral fan hosting tiny yellow anemones grows on a steep rock wall edge approximately 2,700 feet deep in Nygren Canyon. (Photo: NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, 2013 Northeast U.S. Canyons Expedition Science Team) </p>
Paramuricea coral

An orange coral fan hosting tiny yellow anemones grows on a steep rock wall edge approximately 2,700 feet deep in Nygren Canyon. (Photo: NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, 2013 Northeast U.S. Canyons Expedition Science Team)

<p>Deep sea anemones (order Actinaria), are related to corals. The animal here has long tentacles with large stinging cells used to capture and immobilize large zooplankton – like shrimp – and fish that are impinged as they drift by in the current. The tentacles then manipulate the prey towards a central mouth where it is ingested. (Photo: Northeast Canyons 2013 Science Team/NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program) </p>
Deep sea anemones

Deep sea anemones (order Actinaria), are related to corals. The animal here has long tentacles with large stinging cells used to capture and immobilize large zooplankton – like shrimp – and fish that are impinged as they drift by in the current. The tentacles then manipulate the prey towards a central mouth where it is ingested. (Photo: Northeast Canyons 2013 Science Team/NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program)

<p>A cup coral (genus Desmophyllum) has a large solitary polyp and secretes a calcium carbonate skeleton like the true hard corals that form shallow tropical coral reefs. (Photo: Atlantic Canyons and Seamounts 2014 Science Team/NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program) </p>
Cup coral

A cup coral (genus Desmophyllum) has a large solitary polyp and secretes a calcium carbonate skeleton like the true hard corals that form shallow tropical coral reefs. (Photo: Atlantic Canyons and Seamounts 2014 Science Team/NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program)

<p><span>Fan corals (genus Paramuricea) in Oceanographer Canyon. Corals are colonial animals and capture food using tentacles with stinging cells on individual polyps. Polyps are fragile and can be retracted into the coral skeleton for protection from predators, turbulence and other forms of disturbance. The fan on the right has most of its polyps retracted and provides a view of the coral skeleton. (Photo: Northeast Canyons 2013 Science Team/NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program)</span> </p>
Fan corals

Fan corals (genus Paramuricea) in Oceanographer Canyon. Corals are colonial animals and capture food using tentacles with stinging cells on individual polyps. Polyps are fragile and can be retracted into the coral skeleton for protection from predators, turbulence and other forms of disturbance. The fan on the right has most of its polyps retracted and provides a view of the coral skeleton. (Photo: Northeast Canyons 2013 Science Team/NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program)

<p><span>An octopus (genus Graneledone) uses a crevice along a wall in Lydonia Canyon for shelter, surrounded by a garden of corals, deep sea mussels and a diversity of other species. (Photo: NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, 2013 Northeast U.S. Canyons Expedition Science Team)</span> </p>
Octopus in Lydonia Canyon

An octopus (genus Graneledone) uses a crevice along a wall in Lydonia Canyon for shelter, surrounded by a garden of corals, deep sea mussels and a diversity of other species. (Photo: NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, 2013 Northeast U.S. Canyons Expedition Science Team)

<p>Common dolphins hunting squid at surface in the monument. (Photo: New England Aquarium’€™s Anderson Center for Ocean Life aerial survey of Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument, July 2017) </p>
Dolphins hunting in the monument

Common dolphins hunting squid at surface in the monument. (Photo: New England Aquarium’€™s Anderson Center for Ocean Life aerial survey of Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument, July 2017)

<p>A diversity of invertebrate species colonize the volcanic basalt surfaces of Retriever Seamount, including tiny encrusting sponge species, an anemone with long tentacles and tall, old corals. All species attempt to take advantage of currents racing over and around the seamount to capture drifting prey. (Photo: NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program; 2014 Northeast U.S. Canyons Expedition Science Team) </p>
Invertebrate species

A diversity of invertebrate species colonize the volcanic basalt surfaces of Retriever Seamount, including tiny encrusting sponge species, an anemone with long tentacles and tall, old corals. All species attempt to take advantage of currents racing over and around the seamount to capture drifting prey. (Photo: NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program; 2014 Northeast U.S. Canyons Expedition Science Team)

<p>On Mytilus Seamount, a bamboo coral is attached to the black basalt rock formed by a now-extinct undersea volcano. The yellow animals on the coral are crinoids, or sea lilies, in the same major group of animals as sea stars. The summit of Mytilus Seamount is 8,800 feet below the surface of the ocean. (Photo: NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, 2013 Northeast U.S. Canyons Expedition Science Team) </p>
Bamboo coral

On Mytilus Seamount, a bamboo coral is attached to the black basalt rock formed by a now-extinct undersea volcano. The yellow animals on the coral are crinoids, or sea lilies, in the same major group of animals as sea stars. The summit of Mytilus Seamount is 8,800 feet below the surface of the ocean. (Photo: NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, 2013 Northeast U.S. Canyons Expedition Science Team)

<p>Red coral in Lydonia Canyon. (Photo: NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, 2013 Northeast U.S. Canyons Expedition) </p>
Red coral

Red coral in Lydonia Canyon. (Photo: NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, 2013 Northeast U.S. Canyons Expedition)

<p>This pompom anemone is part of the seafloor community on the summit of Physalia Seamount and is rarely seen. While it looks like a plant, it is in fact an animal. It uses its tentacles to sting and subdue its prey, and then transfers it to a central mouth. These anemones are very sensitive to disturbance; when disturbed, the tentacles detach, making the animal unrecognizable. (Photo: NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, 2013 Northeast U.S. Canyons Expedition Science Team) </p>
Physalia Seamount

This pompom anemone is part of the seafloor community on the summit of Physalia Seamount and is rarely seen. While it looks like a plant, it is in fact an animal. It uses its tentacles to sting and subdue its prey, and then transfers it to a central mouth. These anemones are very sensitive to disturbance; when disturbed, the tentacles detach, making the animal unrecognizable. (Photo: NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, 2013 Northeast U.S. Canyons Expedition Science Team)

<p>Atlantic puffin out at sea. (Photo: Project Puffin/Stephen W. Kress) </p>
Atlantic puffin

Atlantic puffin out at sea. (Photo: Project Puffin/Stephen W. Kress)

What to read next