SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Ocean explorers aboard the Exploration Vessel Nautilus stumbled upon a mysterious purple blob in the waters off the Channel Islands.
The team captured video from a remotely operated underwater vehicle used to explore the ocean floor.
The finding happened last month during an expedition leg in Arguello Canyon near the Channel Islands Marine Sanctuary.
The purple orb was spotted 5,000 feet below the surface on a rock outcropping next to several other white orbs.
The team took a sample using a suction hose and sent it to the Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology for scientists to examine. The results may take awhile to come back.
The preliminary determination is that the orb may be a type of sea slug. According to the Nautilus website, "The team thinks it may be a pleurobranch, a close relation to the nudibranch. Currently, none of the known species of California deep-sea pleurobranchs are purple, so this could be a new discovery."
The Nautilus is out to sea from May to September. The team is traveling the coast from Victoria, British Columbia to Southern California.
Titanic discoverer and UC Santa Barbara graduate Dr. Robert Ballard founded the Ocean Exploration Trust, which operates the Nautilus.
The team also captured some images of other interesting creatures along their journey.
To view them or watch live broadcasts from the Nautilus, click here.