Though near to some of the busiest ports and coastal waters in the world, the deep-sea canyons of the Mid-Atlantic Ocean are little-explored. Over the last few decades, scientists have discovered that these mysterious marine canyons are home to an impressive array of corals, sponges and fishes.
It should be a lifeless wasteland. Temperatures are barely above freezing, miles of water apply crushing pressure, and no sunlight reaches there. But the deepest parts of the ocean are actually rife with outlandish lifeforms.
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It’s underwater—and the consequences are unimaginable.
From the New York Times: Researchers announced on Tuesday that they had found two new species of cold-water coral in undersea canyons off New England, a discovery that highlighted concerns about the effects of global warming on the world’s oceans.
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View amazing photos from a recent Shank Lab expedition to the Northeast US Canyons and Seamounts Monument with OceanX
Tim Shank and Sunita Williams placed one of the most unusual long-distance phone calls of all time on Jan. 26, 2007. It traveled over a few time zones and through the ocean, the atmosphere, and outer space.
The continental shelf and slope off the northeastern U.S., the underwater edge of the continent that borders the Atlantic Ocean basin, hosts an incredible diversity of habitats including approximately 70 submarine canyons ranging from depths of approximately 100 meters to 3,500 meters, etched by rivers thousands of years ago when this region was above sea level.
Last month, while traveling around Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, the NOAA ship spotted 100 different species of fish, along with 50 different species of coral and hundreds of other invertebrates. One fish species is so new it’s never been named; another jellyfish-like creature called a ctenophore or comb jelly, has only been observed once before.
What lives in the deepest part of the ocean–the abyss?
A team of researchers funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) will use the world’s only full-ocean-depth, hybrid, remotely-operated vehicle, Nereus, and other advanced technology to find out. They will explore the Kermadec Trench at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean.
An international team of researchers led by deep-sea biologist Tim Shank of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) will use the world’s only full-ocean depth, hybrid remotely operated vehicle, Nereus and other advanced technology to explore life in the depths of the Kermadec Trench.