Posts Tagged ‘creatures’

Following the Elusive Swordfish

Swordfish may be among the most universally recognized apex predators in the open ocean, but given that they spend half of their lives in deeper waters and aren’t easily observed and knowing where and when they travel has been a long-standing mystery. That is, until recently, when researchers from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and…

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A Tunnel to the Twilight Zone

Last year, researchers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and the Applied Physics Lab at the University of Washington (UW) discovered that when white sharks are ready to feast, they ride large, swirling ocean currents known as eddies to fast-track their way to the ocean twilight zone—a layer of the ocean between 200 and 1000 meters…

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Trawling the Depths

Identifying the catch

Mesopelagic trawl sampling is still going strong on the NOAA Ship Henry B. Bigelow with one more round tomorrow before they finish the cruise with more than two days of acoustic surveys. Probably the most celebrated animal they’ve caught so far was a paper nautilus or Argonaut (Argonauta argo) that featured in an earlier post.…

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Up Close with a Lancetfish

Lancetfish

One of the highlights from the mid-water trawl last night on NOAA Ship Henry B. Bigelow was this lancetfish (Alepisaurus ferox). Lancetfish are one of the top predators in the twilight zone and can grow to more than 2 meters (6 feet) in length—though this one was only about 15 inches. They are also voracious…

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Mesobot Dives into the Twilight Zone for the First Time

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

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

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

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

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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An opportunity to explore a new place

Heidi Sosik enters the ocean in manned submersible

Highlights from the latest Ocean Twilight Zone Project cruise to the Bahamas Ocean Twilight Zone Project Lead Scientist, Heidi Sosik, descends for her first time in a Triton manned submersible to experience the twilight zone in person. “It was so incredible to see the ocean twilight zone up close and personal.” – Dr. Heidi Sosik…

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