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Have you enjoyed our updates from the scientists? Everyone has just returned to their labs and is working on their individual data-sets. In the previous posts we've seen a lot of images of the physical collection of organisms, but another one of the key components to the DEEPEND research is the collection of sound data! It's called bio-acoustics and it's another form of taking data that turns sounds into pictures for us to see! Ben, from Florida International University, was on the last cruise working the acoustics and was able to use the data to determine how many organisms were in the water. He is also able to tell us which different organisms were out in the water when he took his data. In order to collect his data, he sends different sound frequencies and pulse lengths through the water to identify fish and crustaceans. He can also track migration patterns of different organisms and is hoping to determine why certain patterns exist.
In the early morning, before the sun has started to rise, a mass migration of organisms swims from the epipelagic layer (sunlight zone) down to the mesopelagic layer (twilight zone). If you need a reminder on the layers of the ocean, you can view it here; http://www.outreach.deependconsortium.org/index.php/kids-blog/entry/diving-into-the-deep
The migration cycle also takes place at night, but in the opposite direction! The same organisms will migrate up from the mesopelagic layer (twilight zone) to the epipelagic layer (sunlight zone) to feed throughout the night. Using multiple sonars, scientists can determine the different groups of animals through their own "acoustic fingerprint", or echo that each group of organisms produces when pinged at different frequencies. In the image below you can see the different groups highlighted in different colors and their migration patterns that were recorded over a 24 hour period in the Northern Gulf of Mexico.
In this echogram (pictured below) a school of larger animals were observed swimming through an area of high biomass, or (an area with a lot of organisms) the brighter color shows us the large concentration of organisms. Scientists think that the large animals pictured in this area were foraging, or searching for food! Pretty interesting to see it taking place, and all through sounds!
If you have any questions for the DEEPEND scientists, or Ben, please leave a comment! Until next time!
Hey Kids! Squirt here with more updates from the Point Sur! The scientists are almost done with their trip but we still have some amazing things to learn about!
Below we can see the face of a Spotlight Lanternfish. It's thought that these lanternfish use the light on their heads to help them locate prey. This lanternfish was trawled from between 700 meters and 1,000 meters in depth.
Below we have a big red shrimp! This shrimp can store ammonia in their body to help with buoyancy ot the ability to float in water!
Here we have a close up of the hatchetfish. Look at those eyes! These fish are interesting because they use counter-illumination tactics to hide themselves from predators. You can find out more about counter-illumination from our video here; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XzZWWyimUGI
Last, but not least, we have the Sloan's viperfish! Look at those large teeth! In fact, their teeth are so large that they actually have grooves on top of their heads just to be able to close their mouths! Can you imagine having teeth that large?
Can you think of any special adaptations that other animals use to help them survive? List them below!
Hey Kids! The DEEPEND scientists are still going strong in the Gulf of Mexico! The team has officially been at sea for twelve days and they are extremely excited to share their updates with us!
Below we have a juvenile anglerfish! You can see that the "fishing rod and lure" has just formed on its forehead but it hasn't developed any adult coloration yet.
The scientist have also seen some beautiful deep water amphipods on this trip. This species in particular lives on jellyfish!
Below we have the biggest helmet jellyfish I've ever seen! This deep sea jellyfish is a vertical migrator, which means it actually lives deep down in the ocean, but migrates up to shallower waters at night to feed on plankton. It also has bioluminescent properties which allows it to communicate.
The scientists also bought up this bristlemouth ( image below) that has a parasitic copepod on its back! These parasites are also commonly found on the back of hatchetfish.
Until next time!
Her kids! Squirt here with some interesting updates from the scientists! This is the first DEEPEND cruise the scientists actually catch some of these fish! I'm so excited to see what they have to show us!
Here we have a Threadfin Dragonfish! It was pulled from between 1,200 and 1,500 meters in depth!
Look at the barbel on its chin and those photophores. Those teeth can't be missed either! These fish use those teeth to be able to capture their prey properly!
Here we have a Duckbill Oceanic Eel! These eels have an incredible rostrum, or beaklike mouth, that probably evolved to feed on crustaceans. This eel was trawled from between 1,200 and 1,500 meters in depth.
Can you guess how it gets its name? What does the shape of its mouth remind you of?
It looks almost like a duck to me!
Last, but not least, scientist pulled up the undistinguished Sabertooth. The enormous teeth on this fish help make sure they capture their prey. These fish feed on other fish! This one was an interesting catch because it was trawled between the surface of the water and 200 meters in depth! Of course, it was caught at night!
I can't wait to see what other fish the scientist have to introduce!
Until next time!
Hey Kids, Squirt here to give you some details on how hard the DEEPEND scientists work!
So what is a typical day like? We usually get nets coming up to the surface on the threes so at 3am and 3pm. It takes anywhere from three to six hours to process the nets. There are six nets per trawl and each net is opened at a different depth. Here are some photos of some of the scientists on board the Point Sur.
Below we have Dr. Sutton identifying some of the smaller specimens!
The scientist alsoenjoy three square meals a day from the amazing kitchen crew on the Point Sur!
Sleep is usually the hardest adjustment for the scientists because of the net times and the way the sleep windows are divided. The scientists can get five or six hours of sleep but its going to be broken into two shorter sleeping times. It's all worth it though! These are great people and these opportunities give us a chance to catalogue the biodiversity of the Gulf of Mexico!
Below we have one of the goliaths of the deep- a giant amphipod! We get these fairly regular in the deeper tows. The entire head of these amphipods is comprised of giant eyes. Does it remind you of anything?
Below we can see the eyes a little closer!
Until next time!
Hey Kids! Squirt here with more exciting updates from the Gulf of Mexico!
So every now and again, a Hatchetfish comes up in the nets that just shimmers with color. The colors seem to stand out and pop with the flash of a camera. I think that the photophores and the colors on the surface of these fish are some of the most beautiful things I have ever seen! This is the lower photophore set on a Hatchetfish.
Some detail with Cocco's lanternfish. The photophores are beautiful in this deep water species!
Some very cool larval crustaceans coming up in the nets. These individuals came up between 200m depth and the surface!
If you have any questions feel free to leave them in the comments below!
Hey Kids! Squirt here with more updates from the cruise!
Look at this adult female anglerfish! This was an exciting find for the scientists because she is so large! These fish are normally around the size of a golf ball but this lady was a total of six inches! That's half the size of your ruler! While this may seem small for you and I, in comparison to other fish of the same species, it's actually a size record! The other interesting thing about this female anglerfish is that she has a male attached to her! If you look closely at the bottom left side of her body you can see the male. The male anglerfish of this species are parasitic on the females, meaning that they will bite the female and hold on. Eventually, the male's lips will become permanently attached, and is then sustained by the female and only used for reproductive purposes.
These anglerfish are also the only group of fishes that evolved two entirely different bioluminescence systems. The "beard" that hangs off the fishe's chin glows in the dark by light produce by the fish itself. The lure on her head is called symbiotic bioluminescence, meaning its light is produced by bacteria on the lure, not the fish itself. It is extremely rare to have both biolominescence systems!
Time to welcome back some fish we've met before! Say hello to the moonfish! These fish are usually found out at sea as juveniles. As adults they can be found closer to the shore.
Let's not forget to welcome the telescope fish! We've talked about them before in a previous blog post! You can find it here; http://www.outreach.deependconsortium.org/index.php/kids-blog/entry/glowing-water
This fish was trawled from between 1,200 and 1,500 meters in depth!
Until the next update! Thank you for following us on our journey through the deep!
Hello everyone, Squirt here to say that the DEEPEND scientists are back in the Gulf of Mexico! They started their fourth cruise on August 5th and they have some very exciting things to share. Let's take a look!
Here we have one of the brightest orange/red fish I've ever seen! The Velvet Whalefish (Barbourisia rufa) feeds on crustaceans! This whalefish was roughly five inches in length and was trawled from between 1,000 and 1,200m depth. That's at least three empire state building stacked on top of one another!
Here is a close up!
The DEEPEND scientists also pulled up a Lanternfish! Lanternfishes often have photophores all over their bodies that produce light. The formation of the photophores is believed to be important so they can recognize the same species in the dark. This species (Diaphus fragilis) has glowing spots on its jaw as well as along its body. It also has a large light producing organ on the front of its face, like a built in flashlight. These fishes may use these lights to find food in the dark depths. How cool is that?
I can't wait to see what else the DEEPEND scientists have to teach us!
Until next time!