After yesterday's surprise appearance by what was most likely a polychaete of some sort, today we encountered a strange creature that we are having a lot of trouble identifying. We first spotted it at the water-sediment interface in a megacore tube, looking like this:
When I tried to extract it using a scientific instrument (a metal soup spoon from the galley), it retracted deeper into the sediment. I was able to gently dig it out, and we placed it in a jar with some sea water and then put the jar in Little Antarctica (the walk-in cooler). A few hours later, it looked like a lumpy pink volcano:
As of right now, we are calling it "Bruce" and my best guess is that it is some sort of sea anemone? But I'd love to hear from any invertebrate experts out there- what exactly are we looking at?
Sidebar- please get back to us quickly if we should be afraid.
Update: This morning, Bruce had again changed his appearance, looking more like the sea anenome I think he is, with hints of a pink Jabba the Hut.