In the News

WHOI Plunges into Ocean ‘Twilight Zone’ with NASA, NSF to Explore Global Carbon Flow

A large multidisciplinary team of scientists, equipped with advanced underwater robotics and an array of analytical instrumentation, will set sail for the northeastern Pacific Ocean this August. The team’s mission for NASA and the National Science Foundation (NSF) is to study the life and death of the small organisms that play a critical role in removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and in the ocean’s carbon cycle. The expedition will mark an important step in growing efforts to explore and understand the ocean’s twilight zone.

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From Oceanus Magazine: Mission to the Twilight Zone

The twilight zone is a part of the ocean 660 to 3,300 feet below the surface, where little sunlight can reach. It is deep and dark and cold, and the pressures there are enormous. Despite these challenging conditions, the twilight zone teems with life that helps support the ocean’s food web and is intertwined with Earth’s climate. Some countries are gearing up to exploit twilight zone fisheries, with unknown impacts for marine ecosystems and global climate. Scientists and engineers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution are poised to explore and investigate this hidden frontier.

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The mesopelagic: Cinderella of the oceans

dragon fish

The Economist reporter Hal Hodson says global fishing powers are already gearing up to exploit the twilight zone’s abundant resources, with potential implications for global climate. Hodson describes WHOI’s plans to explore the mesopelagic by developing three new ocean robots: the Deep-See, the Mesobot, and the Snowclops.

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