News

Mesobot Dives into the Twilight Zone for the First Time

By Kathryn Baltes | July 3, 2019
Mesobot using red light in a test tank

The newly developed deep sea robot, Mesobot, dove down to 300m for the first time last week during a successful test and evaluation cruise off Monterey Bay. Mesobot is designed to let scientists observe the twilight zone by autonomously tracking individual animals for hours or even days without disturbing the environment or disrupting their behavior.

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Discovering the Ocean Twilight Zone with Joel Llopiz

By Kathryn Baltes | June 3, 2019
Photo of bristlemouth

Most life forms in the twilight zone are tiny—a few inches or less—but even the smallest twilight zone inhabitants are powerful through sheer number. Joel Llopiz, Associate Scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, is part of the Ocean Twilight Zone (OTZ) project. The project is embarking on a bold new journey to explore one…

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Entering the Ocean Twilight Zone with Heidi Sosik

By Kathryn Baltes | June 3, 2019
Heidi Sosik and Paul Caiger in a manned submersible.

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…

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Fish with Flashlights

By Kathryn Baltes | May 30, 2019
Sloan viper fish

Down in the dark and shadowy mesopelagic layer of the ocean, countless species—bristlemouths, lanternfishes, jellies, and others—have a natural ability to generate their own light through chemical reactions. Most twilight zone animals produce blue light—the color that penetrates the farthest through seawater—but some also produce flashes of red, yellow, and green. Collectively, the lights form…

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Bringing Light into Darkness

By Kathryn Baltes | May 24, 2019
Floating jelly

Oceanographers studying creatures in the ocean twilight zone are facing an optical dilemma. They need to observe the fish in order to study them, but at ocean depths of 200 meters and beyond, there’s very little natural light trickling down from the surface. This means that submersibles developed to image and track these animals need to be…

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New Cooperative Institute to Boost Twilight Zone Exploration

By Ken Kostel | May 10, 2019

On May 6, WHOI announced it would be joining a $94 million consortium led by the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography to support ocean exploration, responsible resource management, improved scientific understanding of the deep sea and strengthen the nation’s Blue Economy. The goal of the new Ocean Exploration Cooperative Institute, which includes…

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The Ocean’s Twilight Zone May Be the Key to Feeding and Protecting Life on Earth

By Ken Kostel | May 2, 2019

You may think of the twilight zone as a frequently-revived TV sci-fi series, but it also refers to that deep, dark, mid layer of the ocean between 200 and 1000 meters, a part of the ocean that has been largely ignored—until now.

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EXPORTS 2018 and the Ocean Twilight Zone

By Ken Kostel | May 1, 2019

From Voice of The Sea TV. EXPORTS is a unique scientific undertaking by NASA and the National Science Foundation to understand and predict the carbon cycle. There is an urgent need to better understand the fate of carbon in the deep ocean in order to predict future climate conditions, and OTZ members are deeply embedded…

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SEA Collaborating with WHOI to Study the Ocean’s Twilight Zone!

By Ken Kostel | April 25, 2019
Corwith Cramer

This morning we sailed from the Bermuda exclusive economic zone (EEZ) into the “area beyond national jurisdiction” (aka the “high seas”) in deepwater (about 5,000 meters) on the Cramer.

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A New Paradigm for Funding Ocean Science

By Kathryn Baltes | April 12, 2019

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is embarking on a journey to explore and understand one of our planet’s last hidden frontiers—the ocean twilight zone (OTZ), a shadowy region far below the ocean’s sunlit surface. The OTZ project is WHOI’s first major research initiative supported by a new, disruptive funding model: The Audacious Project.

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In the News

2018-08-04
It’s ‘the last frontier on Earth that’s truly not well understood,’ and scientists are about to explore it
The Boston Globe

2018-06-19
Why Great White Sharks Hang Out in Warm Whirlpools
National Geographic News

2018-04-22
Into the Darkness
Cape Cod Times

2018-04-16
Scientists Get Major Gift to Study the Twilight Zone
WCAI NPR

2018-04-13
With $35M grant, WHOI scientists will dive to the edge of ocean's light
Cape Cod Times

2018-04-12
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution gets $35m to explore deep reaches
Boston Globe

2018-04-12
Deep-sea project wins prestigious funding at Vancouver TED conference
The Globe & Mail

2018-02-26
The ocean’s ‘twighlight zone’ faces fishing threat
News Deeply

2018-02-16
Study finds high levels of microplastics in mesopelagic fish
R&D

2017-08-21
The deep seas are alive with light
New York Times

2017-08-18
What happens in the sea during a solar eclipse?
Deep Sea News

2017-05-03
In disposable mucus houses, these zooplankton filter the oceans
New York Times

2017-01-16
The race to fish the larder living in the ‘twilight zone’
BBC

2016-08-15
Unraveling the mystery of the ocean’s twilight zone
Wired

2016-09-26
Mysterious ocean blobs aren’t so mysterious
The Atlantic

2016-03-08
Fishing the deep. Is it time to start fishing the deep sea? Some scientists are urging caution.
Hakai magazine

2015-06-29
Dark region of ocean may shed light on climate change and other issues
New York Times

2015-06-29
An ocean mystery in the trillions
New York Times

2014-02-09
Fish in the ocean cast new light on ocean ecosystems
The Conversation