Posts by Ken Kostel

Mesobot: Following Life in the Twilight Zone

Mesobot is a brand new underwater vehicle designed to reveal what lives in the ocean’s twilight zone. Mesobot can follow animals as they move through the darkness and as they migrate from the depths to the surface and back. The twilight zone is vast and remote, but is threatened by unregulated fishing and climate change.…

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Open Wide

The jaw of the loosejaw dragonfish (Photostomias goodyeari) is a marvel of the animal kingdom. It has no floor and is only attached by a hinge, a tendon, and a modified tongue bone. This series of images shows the incredible extent to which it can open it’s jaw—an indication of the size of the prey…

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A Tunnel to the Twilight Zone

Last year, researchers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and the Applied Physics Lab at the University of Washington (UW) discovered that when white sharks are ready to feast, they ride large, swirling ocean currents known as eddies to fast-track their way to the ocean twilight zone—a layer of the ocean between 200 and 1000 meters…

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A Light in the Darkness

LAPIS image

A  key feature of Deep-See is the Large-Area Plankton Imaging System, or LAPIS camera, mounted on the front of the vehicle. It was developed at WHOI and captures 24 megapixel, high-definition images of the many creatures large and small that live in the ocean twilight zone, especially those with gelatinous bodies. The camera uses powerful…

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Who goes there?

Niskin bottles

  As the Ocean Twilight Zone expedition on the NOAA Ship Henry B. Bigelow off the US East Coast winds down, the scientists aboard are taking the measure of the immense amount of data that’s so far been collected over the past 13 days. In addition to acoustic data, net samples, and images from Deep-See,…

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First sea trials of a revolutionary new undersea robot

Mesobot deployment

In late June researchers from MBARI joined engineers from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) to test a new breed of undersea robot designed to open up new avenues of research in the mesopelagic, also known as the ocean’s twilight zone. This vehicle, the Mesobot, originated at WHOI and was developed over the past two years…

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Trawling the Depths

Identifying the catch

Mesopelagic trawl sampling is still going strong on the NOAA Ship Henry B. Bigelow with one more round tomorrow before they finish the cruise with more than two days of acoustic surveys. Probably the most celebrated animal they’ve caught so far was a paper nautilus or Argonaut (Argonauta argo) that featured in an earlier post.…

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Up Close with a Lancetfish

Lancetfish

One of the highlights from the mid-water trawl last night on NOAA Ship Henry B. Bigelow was this lancetfish (Alepisaurus ferox). Lancetfish are one of the top predators in the twilight zone and can grow to more than 2 meters (6 feet) in length—though this one was only about 15 inches. They are also voracious…

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