Navigation Links
Study finds deep, open ocean is vastly under-explored
Date:8/2/2010

New research from the University of Sheffield has discovered that the deep open ocean, by far the largest habitat for life on Earth, is currently the most under-explored area of the sea, and the one we know least about.

The research, which is published today (2 August 2010) in the journal PLoS ONE, has mapped the distribution of marine species records and found that most of our knowledge of marine biodiversity comes from the shallow waters or the ocean floor, rather than the deep pelagic ocean- the water column deeper than the sunlit surface waters but above the sea bed.

This area is home to uncounted animals which never experience a hard surface, including megamouth sharks, giant squid, and a myriad of smaller species of gelatinous animals and other planktonic organisms.

The research was led by Dr Tom Webb, a Royal Society Research Fellow and marine ecologist from the University's Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, in conjunction with the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS) secretariat at Rutgers University, and the Consortium for Ocean Leadership in the USA.

The team used data from OBIS, which collates all available information on geographical distributions of marine life, to plot the position in the water of seven million records of marine species. They combined this data with a separate dataset of the bottom surface of the ocean, and then attributed each separate record to a position in the ocean, to enable them to provide a global analysis of the depth distribution of recorded marine biodiversity.

The almost limitless deep waters of the sea have been largely under explored due to a long-held belief, first expressed by Charles Wyville Thomson, leader of the challenger Expedition in the 1870s, which effectively launched the discipline of deep sea biology. He believed that life in the deep water was confined primarily to a belt at the surface and one near the sea bed, and believed the area in the middle to be almost completely without larger animals.

More recent sampling, employing new techniques, has revealed that this is not the case, and the deep pelagic is actually teeming with life. The global picture provided by this new study has led to calls for increased exploration of the Earth's last frontier of biodiversity research.

Dr Tom Webb said: "It's shocking that in 2010, the International Year of Biodiversity, the largest habitat on Earth remains virtually unexplored. On a more positive note, being able to highlight gaps in our knowledge is an important step towards filling them, and our analysis - the first at a global scale - was possible because of the commitment in the marine biodiversity research community to sharing data through initiatives like OBIS."

Dr Ron O'Dor, Senior Scientist with the Census of Marine Life, said: "The Census of Marine Life has invested more than $650M in exploring all of the global ocean realms in the last decade, but we have barely made a dent in this one. One project has provided a look at everything that lives in the water column in the Charlie-Gibbs Fracture Zone in the northern Mid-Atlantic Ridge - just a single piece of a giant puzzle.

"Another project collected plankton with a giant net and doubled the amount of sampling in a single cruise in the North Atlantic. Now we know how to do this, but just need commitment to continue our exploration for the rest of the planet."


'/>"/>

Contact: Lauren Anderson
l.h.anderson@sheffield.ac.uk
44-114-222-1046
University of Sheffield
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Sociological study links state tax credit programs to higher birth weight
2. Blue whales align the pitch of their songs with extreme accuracy, study finds
3. Study finds diet and alcohol alter epigenetics of breast cancer
4. Study finds black carbon implicated in global warming
5. Scripps research study opens the door to new class of drugs for epileptic seizures
6. New study reveals decline of marine phytoplankton over the past century
7. NJIT professor receives Fulbright to study at University of Salerno
8. Study suggests swimmers at sub-tropical beaches show increased risk of illness
9. Scripps research study shows infectious prions can arise spontaneously in normal brain tissue
10. Neiker-Tecnalia study use of oilseedrape and sunflower oils to produce fuel and feed for herds
11. Study recommends that parents, physicians share decisions in sex development disorder surgery
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Study finds deep, open ocean is vastly under-explored
(Date:3/10/2016)... BELL, Pa. , March 10, 2016   Unisys ... U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is testing its ... San Diego to help identify certain ... States . The test, designed to help determine the ... pedestrian environment, began in February and will run until May ...
(Date:3/9/2016)... BEACH GARDENS, Fla. , March 9, 2016 ... identity management authentication and enrollment solutions, today announced ... DigitalPersona ® Altus multi-factor authentication ... IT and InfoSec managers to step-up security where ... Washington, DC . ...
(Date:3/3/2016)...  2016FLEX, organized by FlexTech, a SEMI Strategic ... flexible, hybrid and printed electronics. More than 650 ... gathered for short courses, technical session, exhibits, and ... Flex Conference celebrates its 15 th anniversary ... and universities contributing to the adoption of flexible ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/27/2016)... ... 2016 , ... A compact PET scanner called NuPET™ has ... Resonance Imaging) in existing third-party MRI systems. PET and MRI are complementary imaging ... Simultaneous PET/MRI imaging offers a solution to many challenges that face researchers who ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... -- MedDay, a biotechnology company focused on the ... Catherine Moukheibir as Chairman of its Board of Directors. ... Garaud , who contributed to the rapid development of the ... Catherine started her career in strategy consulting and investment banking ... .  She held C-Suite level roles in some of ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... ... April 26, 2016 , ... BaseHealth , the comprehensive ... company as Chief Business Officer. Arianpour, a genomics pioneer and visionary commercial leader ... most recently Chief Commercial Officer of Pathway Genomics. He has held senior executive ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... ... , ... Mr. Palmer created the RPO business for Ceridian and lead the ... services contract in the U.S. intelligence community with The SI (a Lockheed Martin divestiture). ... founder of Accolo. “We are growing and his experience guiding our expansion is ...
Breaking Biology Technology: