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Ocean Twilight Zone


Sharks and the ocean’s twilight zone: Some female great white sharks can deep dive for hours

Boston Herald

Much of the shark focus around the Cape is on great whites roaming close to the shoreline as they prowl for seals, but researchers are finding out that several sharks are actually diving deep into the twilight zone out in the middle of the ocean. Scientists at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution on Cape Cod are researching the sharks’ deep diving behavior and how sharks’ bodies have evolved to handle these deeper conditions. They’re learning that deep diving is far more frequent and extensive across species than previously thought, said Simon Thorrold, a senior scientist in the biology department at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

Ocean Encounters: Weirdly Wonderful Creatures of the twilight zone

Dive with us into the ocean twilight zone—the weirdest place on Earth. This vast, dark, barely explored layer of the ocean is home to countless weirdly wonderful creatures whose uniqueness also gives them superpowers to survive in a world of darkness, extreme pressure, frigid cold, and superpowered predators. The twilight zone is a place of wonder, mystery, and abundance that reminds us our choices mean the difference between a future of loss and sustainability.

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Three ships, one ocean twilight zone

In May 2021, members of WHOI’s Ocean Twilight Zone project braved the rough seas of the Northeast Atlantic aboard the Spanish research vessel Sarmiento de Gamboa. Their mission: locate the spring phytoplankton bloom and measure how carbon moves through the mysterious mid-ocean “twilight zone.”

The Sarmiento joined two other research vessels funded by NASA’s EXPORTS program to intensively study the area. This remarkable and rare coordination of 150 scientists from several organizations, and crew on three different ships, was years in the making.

Watch as the WHOI research team, led by Ken Buesseler and Heidi Sosik, deploys innovative new imaging technologies and hauls up hundreds of fascinating specimens from the deep sea. Along the way, you’ll gain an endless appreciation for the vast, weird, and wonderful ocean twilight zone – without getting wet.

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Keep It Weird

Discover the weird and wonderful creatures of the Ocean Twilight Zone and how they keep our planet healthy. Take our quiz to find your weird at keepitweird.org!

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The Earth-Shaping Animal Migration No One Ever Sees

Nautilus
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“All the vehicles on the road in the United States produce around 1.5 PgC per year,” says Kevin Archibald, a biological oceanographer at WHOI and lead author of that study. DVM could be understood as offsetting about two-thirds of all U.S. automobile emissions.

Ocean Twilight Zone Art

Learn how to draw and paint the marvelous creatures of the ocean twilight zone and pick up some fun facts about their anatomy and behavior along the way!

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A Window into the Twilight Zone

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution oceanographer Andone Lavery and her team of scientists and engineers have created the ultimate tool for exploring the largest, least known habitat on Earth—the Twilight Zone, a layer of the ocean beyond all but the dimmest sunlight. What they find might change our understanding of deep-ocean life.

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The ocean’s carbon pump works better than we thought!

Scientists have long known that the ocean plays an essential role in capturing carbon from the atmosphere, but a study from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) shows that the efficiency of the ocean’s “biological carbon pump” has been drastically underestimated, with implications for future climate assessments. Marine chemist Ken Buesseler and his co-authors call on their fellow oceanographers to adopt a new metric for estimating the depth of the ocean’s sunlit layer, thus its ability to take up carbon.

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Hyperiid amphipod: a shimmer in the net

This hyperiid amphipod is a member of the crustacean family that typically act as parasites to gelatinous neighbors, such as salps. This particular suborder lives exclusively in the marine environment. Paul Caiger, who snapped the picture, saw this particular shrimp-like species during an ocean twilight zone research cruise on R/V Neil Armstrong (2020).

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360˚ Video: Deploying Mesobot

You’re on deck as the stealthy underwater robot Mesobot makes another trip into the ocean twilight zone to test equipment that will help scientists track bits of “environmental DNA” floating in the water.

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The Ocean Twilight Zone: Earth’s Final Frontier

The mysteries of the ocean twilight zone are waiting to be explored. What was once thought to be desert-like isn’t a desert at all. Where the deep sea creatures lurk there are incredible biomass and biodiversity. The ocean twilight zone is a huge habitat that is very difficult to explore. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is poised to change this because we have the engineers that can help us overcome these challenges. Making new discoveries in ocean exploration is more important now than ever.

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Report reveals ‘unseen’ human benefits from ocean twilight zone

A new report from researchers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) reveals for the first time the unseen—and somewhat surprising—benefits that people receive from the ocean’s twilight zone. Also known as the “mesopelagic,” this is the ocean layer just beyond the sunlit surface.

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Value Beyond View: The Ocean Twilight Zone

How does the ocean twilight zone benefit life on Earth? The ocean twilight zone helps regulates our climate. Storing two to six billion tons of carbon annually. That’s up to six times the amount of carbon emitted from autos worldwide. Preventing an increase in temperature between 6-11°F. The ocean twilight zone supports a healthy ocean ecosystem. Containing 10 times more fish than the rest of the ocean. Providing food for many other animals in the ocean. The ocean twilight zone could also play an important role in feeding a growing population. We are working to better understand this realm in order to inform sustainable management decisions.

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