Nautilus and Allonautilus are the two surviving genera of shelled cephalopods, a group of marine invertebrates common in the oceans prior to the Cretaceous-Paleogene mass extinction. Being some of the last survivors of this once-diverse group, Nautilus is often regarded as a living fossil.
Unfortunately, the continued survival of this long-lived group is in doubt, due to overfishing and the shell trade. In 2012, I had the chance to accompany my Ph.D. advisor Dr. Peter Ward to the Great Barrier Reef, as part of an effort to estimate the population of Nautilus across the Indo-Pacific using Baited Remote Underwater Video Systems (BRUVS).
This work resulted in a published study led by Gregory Barord, incorporating video footage of nautiluses in their natural fore-reef slope environment and interacting with other native species, including fellow “living fossils” such as giant isopods and hagfish.