Deep-water drillers discover creatures as well as crude (video)

GULF OF MEXICO — Massive oil fields aren’t the only discoveries emerging from the drilling resurgence in the Gulf of Mexico. The boom in deep-water operations also has unleashed a plethora of up-close images of unusual — or even unknown — underwater creatures.

The robotic cameras that oil companies use to monitor their equipment operating thousands of feet underwater have spotted enormous jellyfish and uncommon species of sharks swimming through the sea.

For instance, this fishing squid, known by marine biologists as a grimalditeuthis bonplandi, was caught on such a camera demonstrating its unique method for catching prey.

Mark Benfield, a biological oceanographer at Louisiana State University, said such sights largely dried up during the temporary drilling moratorium that followed the 2010 Gulf oil spill, hampering marine research.

Now working with Shell — and hoping to expand the project to BP and other oil companies — the scientists believe their research program will unveil more mysteries from the deep ocean.

To read more about the research program and the unusual creatures it has uncovered, check out the complete story by FuelFix reporter Ryan Holeywell on HoustonChronicle.com.

Photos of marine animals courtesy of Louisiana State University. Photos of Oceaneering ROV courtesy of Shell.