It is hard to describe what it’s like to physically travel down to the twilight zone. In addition to extraordinary bioluminescence, Heidi Sosik, senior scientist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and Ocean Twilight Zone (OTZ) project lead, was able to observe beautiful jellies and small fishes like bristlemouths, hatchetfish, and lanternfish, all in their natural habitat.
Several members of the OTZ Project team conducted an expedition aboard OceanX’s research vessel, the M/V Alucia, out of the Bahamas in spring of 2019. The main goal of the expedition was to examine how the OTZ project site off the coast of New England differs from this distant –yet connected– region of the twilight zone. Scientists conducted net tows to collect animals at specific depths within the twilight zone, and went down in a manned submersible to observe life there. They also collected water samples for environmental DNA analysis, a kind of forensic tool that allows scientists to sleuth out organisms the scientists weren’t able to physically catch. The team worked closely with OceanX to share their journey through video diaries and photographs of the extraordinary creatures brought on board throughout the cruise.
The Ocean Twilight Zone is supported the Audacious Project, a collaborative endeavor, housed at TED, to surface and fund ideas with the potential to create change at thrilling scale.
Video by Erik Olsen