News

The Largest Mass Migration on The Planet Happens Every Single Day, And We Never See It

By Ken Kostel | March 24, 2020

At night, they rise. As the Sun disappears over the horizon, a vast movement takes place in the world’s oceans, as countless sea creatures begin the long trek upwards towards the surface waters above. They do not stay long. When the Sun rises, bringing light and the threat of watchful surface predators, they will retreat…

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Enter the Twilight Zone: Scientists dive into the oceans’ mysterious middle

By Ken Kostel | February 28, 2020

As part of a $25-million mission, NASA will travel to the north Atlantic in April with the WHOI OTZ team to study the movement of carbon between the atmosphere and the deep ocean via the twilight zone. 

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Open ocean diving observations

By Ken Kostel | February 27, 2020

Watch and learn how Ocean Twilight Zone fish biologist conducts blue- and black-water dives in the open ocean and what he sees during the day and at night when animals from the twilight zone migrate to the surface under cover of darkness.

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The Ocean Twilight Zone’s crucial carbon pump

By Ken Kostel | January 24, 2020

When CO₂ enters the ocean, where does this heat-trapping gas go? By Madeline Drexler When heat-trapping carbon dioxide from the atmosphere sinks into the ocean and turns to organic carbon, how much of it sinks to the deep ocean and how quickly? Ken Buesseler, a geochemist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), has been working…

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Tagging sharks to study the twilight zone

By Ken Kostel | January 23, 2020

Former MIT-WHOI Joint Program graduate student and current University of Washington post-doc Camrin Braun and his team on the charter fishing vessel Machaca tagged two porbeagles, a relative of the goblin shark, about 30 miles east of Chatham, Mass., in 2019. One shark was a female nearly seven feet long and weighing 270 pounds. A…

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Report reveals ‘unseen’ human benefits from ocean twilight zone

By Ken Kostel | January 22, 2020
Value beyond view cover

Did you know that there’s a natural carbon sink—even bigger than the Amazon rainforest—that helps regulate Earth’s climate by sucking up to six billion tons of carbon from the air each year? A new report from researchers at WHOI reveals for the first time the unseen—and somewhat surprising—benefits that people receive from the ocean’s twilight…

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Paul Caiger hunts for things that glow in the Ocean Twilight Zone

By Ken Kostel | January 22, 2020
Paul Caiger in submersible

Paul Caiger is a fish biologist, marine photographer and postdoctoral investigator at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). A New Zealand native, Caiger was heavily immersed in SCUBA diving culture while working toward his Ph.D. in marine biology and reef fish ecology at the University of Auckland. He came to WHOI as a member of Joel Llopiz’s…

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Satellite Observes Massive Ocean Migration

By Ken Kostel | December 9, 2019

Every night, under the cover of darkness, countless small sea creatures swim from the ocean depths to feed near the surface, then descend out of sight again before daybreak. This vast animal migration—a critical part of Earth’s carbon cycle—has been observed for the first time on a global scale thanks to a space-based laser. The…

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Antarctic Krill—the Unsung Heroes of Climate Mitigation in the Southern Ocean

By Ken Kostel | December 4, 2019

Antarctic krill—and more importantly, krill poop—are an important part of the global climate system. Unlike many species that migrate miles across the surface, krill migrate vertically, depositing their carbon-filled waste deep below the surface. This helps mitigate climate change, but they’re under threat from capture for use as fishmeal to feed aquaculture operations or oils…

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Bristlemouth dominance: How do we know?

By abrickley | November 26, 2019

By towing sampling nets over specific depth ranges, scientists are able to estimate the total amount of living things (biomass) and the number of different living things (biodiversity) in that region of the ocean. Recent press has crowned the bristlemouth fish the king of vertebrates, with estimates in the trillions or even quadrillions.  But how…

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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