science

12 November, 2018

Source: The Independent
Author: Josh Gabbatiss

An enormous shark ”nursery” swarming with the predatory fish and strewn with their eggs has been found in the waters 200 miles off the western Irish coast.

The rare discovery was made by a remotely operated vehicle exploring the region’s cold-water coral reefs at depths of around 750m.

Scientists observed a large school of blackmouth catsharks, a relatively small species found throughout the northeast Atlantic, alongside the more unusual and solitary sailfin roughshark.

Continue reading Rare ‘shark nursery’ discovered hidden in deep waters west of Ireland

7 November, 2018

Source: Mongabay
Author: Emily Clark

When Luiz Rocha, a fish biologist at the California Academy of Sciences, goes scuba diving, he tacks on one and a half times his body weight in specialized diving gear. Once he submerges, he can’t spare a moment to take in the vibrant corals just beneath the surface — he has greater depths to plumb.

Rocha is headed toward what Smithsonian Institution fish biologist Carole Baldwin calls “a very diverse and productive portion of the tropical ocean that science has largely missed”: mesophotic reefs. “Mesophotic” is Greek for “middle light,” referring to the intermediate amount of sunlight that can penetrate to depths of 30 to 150 meters (100 to 500 feet) below the ocean’s surface.

Continue reading Are deep sea reefs really a lifeboat for our vanishing corals?

2 November, 2018

Source: Phys.Org
Author: Priyanka Runwal

Almost 4,000 meters below the sea surface, in the southern Pescadero Basin, jagged ivory towers rise from the seafloor and emit hot shimmering fluid. They are the deepest known hydrothermal vents in the Gulf of California.

These deep-sea chimneys were discovered by MBARI scientists in 2015. The researchers call them the Auka vents. What’s intriguing is that these vents spew chemicals and host animals that are very different from those seen at Alarcón Rise, which is just 100 miles away.

Continue reading Researchers help map and scout for hydrothermal vents in Gulf of California

29 October, 2018

Source: National Geographic
Author: Jason Bittel

Off the coast of Monterey, California, and some two miles below the surface of the Pacific Ocean, scientists piloting a remotely-operated submersible saw something no one has ever seen before.

Octopuses. Hundreds of them. Huddled on a rocky outcrop at the base of an underwater mountain.

“We went down the eastern flank of this small hill, and that’s when—boom—we just started seeing pockets of dozens here, dozens there, dozens everywhere,” says Chad King, chief scientist on the Exploration VesselNautilus.

Continue reading World’s largest deep-sea octopus nursery discovered

25 October, 2018

Source: Earther
Author: Katie Keck

A so-described “ghostly” cephalopod put its deep-sea acrobatics on full display this week after it was captured by researchers in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary in what the team says is a previously unexplored area. The creature is part of a genus known as Grimpoteuthis and is sometimes referred to as a dumbo octopus on account of its fins that look similar to those of Disney’s iconic elephant.

The footage comes courtesy scientists aboard the E/V Nautilus, who beginning this week are in the area studying the underwater ecosystem around Davidson Seamount—a massive underwater mountain with coral forests that look like something straight out of Dr. Seuss book—at depths of up to 12,000 feet. The dumbo octopus was captured Tuesday by the team’s remote operated vehicles (ROVs) during its around-the-clock live feed of its exploration of the mountain’s diverse marine life.

Continue reading ‘Ghostly’ Dumbo Octopus Makes Hypnotizing Appearance in New Deep-Sea Footage

17 October, 2018

Source: Nature
Author: L. Chapron, E. Peru, A. Engler, J. F. Ghiglione, A. L. Meistertzheim, A. M. Pruski, A. Purser, G. Vétion, P. E. Galand & F. Lartaud

Plastic contamination is now recognized as one of the most serious environmental issues for oceans. Both macro- and microplastic debris are accumulating in surface and deep waters. However, little is known about their impact on deep marine ecosystems and especially on the deep-sea reefs built by emblematic cold-water corals. The aim of this study was to investigate whether plastics affected the growth, feeding and behaviour of the main engineer species, Lophelia pertusa. Our experiments showed that both micro- and macroplastics significantly reduced skeletal growth rates. Macroplastics induced an increased polyp activity but decreased prey capture rates. They acted as physical barriers for food supply, likely affecting energy acquisition and allocation.

Continue reading Macro- and microplastics affect cold-water corals growth, feeding and behaviour

8 October, 2018

Source: ABC News
Author: Carla Howarth

Scientists have uncovered a chain of volcanic seamounts towering up to three kilometres from the seafloor off Tasmania’s east coast which are proving a food magnet for marine life.

The underwater mountains, which are nearly 2 kilometres below the surface, were mapped by the CSIRO’s research vessel Investigator, 400 kilometres off the coast.

Dr Tara Martin, from the CSIRO mapping team, said some of the seamounts have sharp peaks while others have wide flat plateaus.

Continue reading Whales, seabirds drawn to chain of volcanic seamounts off Tasmanian coast