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

By Ken Kostel | July 21, 2020

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

By Ken Kostel | July 17, 2020

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

By Ken Kostel | July 16, 2020

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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The Overlooked Midwater: Deep Dive into the Twilight Zone

By Ken Kostel | July 9, 2020

On June 4, 2020, the OTZ Project team participated in the World Economic Forum & Friends of Ocean Action Virtual Ocean Dialogues event to introduce participants to the overlooked mesopelagic and new discoveries being made there. You can watch a recording of their presentation here.

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Bringing Light to the Twilight Zone

By Ken Kostel | June 15, 2020

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

By Ken Kostel | June 1, 2020

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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FREE EVENT: Buttonwood Park Zoo offers virtual look at ‘Ocean Twilight Zone’

By Ken Kostel | April 30, 2020

The Buttonwood Park Zoo will host its Wildlife Education Series, “A Deep Dive into the Ocean Twilight Zone,” virtually on Thursday, April 30, at 7 p.m. Capt. Philip G. Renaud, USN (Ret), Program Manager of the Ocean Twilight Zone Program for the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, will be the guest speaker. The virtual presentation will…

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Aria Finkelstein crafts policy to help legislators manage the twilight zone

By Ken Kostel | April 28, 2020
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 ocean’s ‘biological pump’ captures more carbon than expected

By Ken Kostel | April 7, 2020

Scientists have long known that the ocean plays an essential role in capturing carbon from the atmosphere, but a new study  shows that the efficiency of the ocean’s “biological carbon pump” has been drastically underestimated, with implications for future climate assessments. Read more>

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

By Ken Kostel | March 31, 2020
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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In the News

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

Why Great White Sharks Hang Out in Warm Whirlpools
National Geographic News

Into the Darkness
Cape Cod Times

Scientists Get Major Gift to Study the Twilight Zone

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

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution gets $35m to explore deep reaches
Boston Globe

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

The ocean’s ‘twighlight zone’ faces fishing threat
News Deeply

Study finds high levels of microplastics in mesopelagic fish

The deep seas are alive with light
New York Times

What happens in the sea during a solar eclipse?
Deep Sea News

In disposable mucus houses, these zooplankton filter the oceans
New York Times

The race to fish the larder living in the ‘twilight zone’

Unraveling the mystery of the ocean’s twilight zone

Mysterious ocean blobs aren’t so mysterious
The Atlantic

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

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

An ocean mystery in the trillions
New York Times

Fish in the ocean cast new light on ocean ecosystems
The Conversation