Gulf of Mexico

Swimming with Whale Sharks

In hot spots off the coast of Cancun, sightings are almost guaranteed from June through to September when whale sharks congregate for unknown reasons in deep waters to feed. Photo by Brandi Mueller
In hot spots off the coast of Cancun, sightings are almost guaranteed from June through to September when whale sharks congregate for unknown reasons in deep waters to feed. Photo by Brandi Mueller

Some ocean animals are just inspiring. To be able to glimpse a massive animal like a whale shark can be a lifelong dream that some divers never get to experience. The ocean’s largest living fish inhabits all of the world’s tropical waters, but sightings are usually rare. However, there are a few seasonal hot spots where the likelihood increases.

Whaling shipwreck found in Gulf of Mexico

NOAA Ocean Exploration documented the brig Industry shipwreck in the Gulf of Mexico at a depth of 2,000m below the Gulf surface. The brig sank in the summer of 1836 after a storm snapped its masts and opened the hull to the sea.

The remains of the 64-foot long, two-masted wooden brig open a window into a little known chapter of American history when descendants of African slaves and Native Americans served as essential crew in one of the nation’s oldest industries.

Discovered in 2011

The ship’s remains were first documented in 2011, when a geological data company scanning an oil lease area spotted the carcass of a ship at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. Following standard procedures, the company reported its finding to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, which logged the wreck as No. 15563 and left it alone.

Zooplankton
Zooplankton

Study sheds light on plankton in Gulf of Mexico

Plankton is admittedly not the most exciting life form in our oceans. Nonetheless, a team of researchers have been taking a closer look at plankton life in the Gulf of Mexico.

Their study has resulted in the publication of a paper in the Science Advances journal.

The researchers focussed on the subtropical waters off Florida, in the Gulf of Mexico, using high-speed underwater imaging technology and advanced machine learning approaches.

Rice’s whales already considered endangered by the US with a population estimated at fewer than 100

Rice's whale confirmed as a new species

Rice's whale (Balaenoptera ricei), previously believed to be a population of Bryde’s whales, is an intermediate-sized species of baleen whale.

“I was surprised that there could be an unrecognized species of whale out there, especially in our backyard,”

—Lynsey Wilcox, geneticist with the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration