Meta Analysis of Papers Classifying Deep Sea Life Shows We Know Very Little

A Desmophyllum dianthus solitary coral. Credit: M Taylor, JC136/Deeplinks/NERC

In a review published in the journal Molecular Ecology, scientists from the Department of Zoology at Oxford University examined all knowledge published to date of deep sea invertebrates. Their paper highlights the disparity between our basic knowledge of the ecology of deep sea animals and the growing impact of humans on the deep ocean.

Over the last 30 years there have only been 77 population genetics studies published on invertebrate species, the type of animals that dominate these deep areas. This includes deep ocean coral gardens, snails and urchins. The majority of these papers, which cover just 115 species, have focused on commercial species at the shallower end of the depth range (200-1000 m). Only one study has been conducted on creatures that live deeper than 5000 m—which accounts for a quarter of the planet’s seafloor. Only nine papers account for 50 percent of the planet’s surface (depths below 3500 m).

As a result, life in the depths of the ocean remains a relative mystery.

Read more about the study at Science X.

You can read the full, open source meta analysis study at Wiley Online:

Invertebrate population genetics across Earth’s largest habitat: The deep-sea floor.” By M.L. Taylor & C.N. Roterman

Juvenile of an unknown species of octopus from 1200m depth on George Bligh Bank off the west coast of Scotland. Credit: JC136/Deeplinks/NERC/Univ of Plymouth / Univ of Oxford
Read more at: Science X


Twenty Years of Satellite Imagery: Watching Earth Breathe from Space

NASA’s launch of the Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor (SeaWiFS) in 1997 began what is now a continuous, global view of both land and ocean life. A new animation captures the entirety of this 20-year record, made possible by multiple satellites, compressing a decades-long view of life on Earth into a captivating few minutes.

Watch the full video and read more in the NASA feature article: “The Changing Colors of Our Living Planet“.

More images and videos at Goddard Media Studios.



USS Indianapolis Ruins Discovered in North Pacific

The Portland-class heavy cruiser USS Indianapolis (CA 35) underway in Pearl Harbor in 1937. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)

On Aug. 18, 2017 an expedition crew aboard RV Petrel, a research vessel owned by Paul Allen, located the remains of USS Indianapolis at a depth of 5,500 m in the North Pacific Ocean.

Indianapolis suffered an attack by Japanese submarine torpedoes in the final days of World War II after making a secret delivery to the island of Tinian with components of the nuclear weapons the U.S. dropped on Japan. The ship sunk within 12 minutes in the Philippine Sea on Jul. 30, 1945. Only 316 of the 1,196 men on board survived, including Captain Charles Butler McVay III.

The ship’s discovery this August follows a number of previous unsuccessful efforts in the decades since the war. Successful discovery was aided by information from a naval landing craft sighting on the night the ship sank, information gained from a Naval History and Heritage Command historian last year, and the use of RV Petrel’s subsea equipment capable of diving to 6,000 m.

Navy Commander Fired in Wake of USS McCain Collision

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On Monday, the USS John S. McCain collided with an oil tanker off Singapore, resulting in 10 sailors missing. In the wake of the accident, some remains have been found, and VAdm. Joseph Aucoin, the three-star commander of the U.S. 7th Fleet, was relieved of command.

The Navy said it had lost “confidence” in the commander.

Aucoin’s removal follows four accidents involving Navy ships in the Pacific this year.

Read the NPR story here.

Photo Credit: U.S. Navy

August 2017 E-Book Now Available

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Sea Technology‘s August 2017 issue is now available. If you’re not already a subscriber, sign up for free here to access this issue and archives.

‘Marine Megatropolis’ Photo Exhibit

Starfish - Platform Hondo - Bob Evans.jpg

Marine Megatropolis 1974-1981,” featuring photos by Bob Evans, will be on display at the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum in California November 16, 2017 through April 2018.

The exhibit includes 26 images selected from expeditions by Bob Evans and Andrew J. McMullen of La Mer Bleu Productions in Santa Barbara. Bob and Andy photo-documented the marine life as it developed beneath the offshore oil platforms of the Santa Barbara Channel between 1974 and 1981.

Evans told us that the legendary scientist and explorer Willard Bascom introduced him to Sea Technology magazine in the 1970s and that one of Evans’s images of offshore oil platforms was used as a cover shot for ST.