Posts by Ken Kostel

That strawberry squid can’t be true (But it is)

You know you’ve truly arrived when the popular fact-checking website Snopes has to weigh in on whether something looks so outlandish, so unbelievably alien, that it can’t be true. But it is. Recently, Snopes came to the conclusion that the strawberry squid photographed by WHOI postdoctoral researcher Paul Caiger was, in fact, real. We could…

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Ultra-black skin helps deep-sea fishes avoid detection

Below 200 meters, where sunlight is only a glimmer, light—in the form of bioluminescence—is still an important way to communicate, find mates, and avoid predation. And in this barely visible light from above and within the twilight zone, new research shows that some deep-sea fish are able to avoid detection by absorbing nearly every photon…

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Environmental threats of seafloor mining to the Twilight Zone

A team of researchers from a wide range of oceanographic research centers worldwide recently published an opinion article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) that concludes seafloor mining has the potential to significantly disrupt the ocean’s twilight zone. Despite this, very little consideration is given to mid-water ecosystems when evaluating the…

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Bringing Light to the Twilight Zone

Many animals build complex structures for protection or to capture food, but very few are built exclusively from materials that the animals themselves produce. In the twilight zone, structures made of mucus are quite common and serve many vital functions, but little is known about them because of their fragility and transparency. Now, our friends at the Monterey…

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Exploring Deepwater Ecosystems with eDNA

Between September 23-27, 2019, a team of ocean scientists and engineers from WHOI and Lehigh University used NOAA’s research vessel Manta and the newly developed autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) Mesobot to collect environmental DNA (eDNA) in order to explore the biodiversity of deepwater ecosystems near Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary in the Northwestern Gulf of Mexico. eDNA,…

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Aria Finkelstein crafts policy to help legislators manage the twilight zone

Aria Ritz-Finkelstein

Aria Ritz Finkelstein is a PhD candidate in Urban Studies and Planning at MIT, and is currently a guest student in marine policy at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, where she helps generate policy recommendations on management of the Ocean Twilight Zone—a mysterious stratum of ocean beneath the sunlit layer. Finkelstein began her career hoping to…

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The oceans’ twilight zone must be studied now, before it is too late

Elongated bristlemouth

Members of WHOI’s Ocean Twilight Zone project were instrumental in the recent formation of JETZON (Joint Exploration of the Twilight Zone Ocean Network), an international group linking all of the world’s major twilight zone research projects. Leaders of JETZON published a commentary in the journal Nature arguing that “Exploitation and degradation of the mysterious layer…

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