Related topics: ocean · carbon dioxide · seafloor · sea floor · ocean floor

How Antarctic krill fertilize the oceans and even store carbon

Krill are best known as whale food. But few people realize that these small, shrimp-like creatures are also important to the health of the ocean and the atmosphere. In fact, Antarctic krill can fertilize the oceans, ultimately ...

Computational 'match game' identifies potential antibiotics

Computational biologists at Carnegie Mellon University have devised a software tool that can play a high-speed "Match Game" to identify bioactive molecules and the microbial genes that produce them so they can be evaluated ...

NASA finds a tiny tropical storm Kiko

NASA's Terra satellite is one in a fleet of NASA satellites that provide data for research. Terra captured an image of Tropical Storm Kiko in the Eastern Pacific Ocean which showed the extent of the small storm.

Hurricane Nicole sheds light on how storms impact deep ocean

In early October 2016, a tropical storm named Nicole formed in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. It roamed for six days, reaching Category 4 hurricane status with powerful 140 mile-per hour-winds, before hitting the tiny ...

Kīlauea lava fuels phytoplankton bloom off Hawai'i Island

When Kīlauea Volcano erupted in 2018, it injected millions of cubic feet of molten lava into the nutrient-poor waters off the Big Island of Hawai'i. The lava-impacted seawater contained high concentrations of nutrients that ...

Dense Antarctic water returning to the Atlantic

The supply of dense Antarctic water from the bottom of the ocean to the Atlantic has declined in recent years. However, a new study explains for the first time how since 2014 this has stabilized and slightly recovered due ...

New threat from ocean acidification emerges in the Southern Ocean

The oceans act as a carbon sink and have already absorbed more than 40% of anthropogenic carbon emissions. The majority of this CO2 has been taken up by the Southern Ocean making these waters hotspots of ocean acidification ...

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Deep sea

The deep sea, or deep layer, is the lowest layer in the ocean, existing below the thermocline, at a depth of 1000 fathoms (1828 m) or more. Little or no light penetrates this area of the ocean, and most of its organisms rely on falling organic matter produced in the photic zone for subsistence. For this reason scientists assumed life would be sparse in the deep ocean, but virtually every probe has revealed that, on the contrary, life is abundant in the deep ocean.

From the time of Pliny until the expedition in the ship Challenger between 1872 and 1876 to prove Pliny wrong; its deep-sea dredges and trawls brought up living things from all depths that could be reached. Perhaps one day man will be more like aqua man, and roam the ocean depths with the fish creatures alike. Yet even in the twentieth century scientists continued to imagine that life at great depth was insubstantial, or somehow inconsequential. The eternal dark, the almost inconceivable pressure, and the extreme cold that exist below one thousand meters were, they thought, so forbidding as to have all but extinguished life. The reverse is in fact true....(Below 200 meters) lies the largest habitat on earth.

In 1960 the Bathyscaphe Trieste descended to the bottom of the Marianas Trench near Guam, at 35,798 feet (10,911 meters), the deepest spot on earth. If Mount Everest were submerged there, its peak would be more than a mile beneath the surface. At this great depth a small flounder-like fish was seen moving away from the bathyscaphe's spotlight. The Japanese research submersible Kaiko was the only vessel capable of reaching this depth, and it was lost in 2003.

We know more about the moon than the deepest parts of the ocean. Until the late 1970s little was known about the possibility of life on the deep ocean floor but the the discovery of thriving colonies of shrimp and other organisms around hydrothermal vents changed that. Before the discovery of the undersea vents, all life was thought to be driven by the sun. But these organisms get their nutrients from the earth's mineral deposits directly. These organisms thrive in completely lightless and anaerobic environments, in highly saline water that may reach 300 °F (149 °C), drawing their sustainance from hydrogen sulfide, which is highly toxic to all terrestrial life. The revolutionary discovery that life can exist without oxygen or light significantly increases the chance of there being life elsewhere in the universe. Scientists now speculate that Europa, one of Jupiter's moons, may have conditions that could support life beneath its surface which is speculated to be a liquid ocean beneath the icy crust.

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