Discovering weird new species in the open ocean
Discovering weird new species in the open ocean The red paper lantern jellyfish, a strikingly beautiful animal in the web of midwater ocean life (Karen Osborn, Smithsonian Institution)
Discovering weird new species in the open ocean
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When we think about the ocean, we may visualize sea turtles swimming around coral reefs, sea urchins anchored in tidepools, dolphins breaching the surface, or even shrimp gathered around deepwater sulfur vents. But most of the ocean is just open water, miles and miles of it from below the surface to thousands of feet down. This ocean midwater is the largest habitat on Earth!

Yet midwater habitat has not been well-studied because it is difficult to explore. It's mostly cold, dark and under high pressure. Some of its most surprising secrets are animals without backbones (invertebrates), such as worms and jellies, that come in a variety of weird colors and shapes. Many of these midwater species have never been recorded by science, challenging scientists to figure out what they are.

Marine biologists use specialized equipment to find the open ocean's unique invertebrates. Remotely operated vehicles, essentially robots controlled from ocean-going ships, provide a view of the mysterious world of suspended life. Using video cameras, water sensors and unique collection equipment, zoologists catalogue and capture examples of organisms never before named. Some of these organisms rewrite what we know about the intricate web of ocean biodiversity.

Find out watching this Smithsonian Science How webcast titled Ocean Biodiversity - Discovering Marine Invertebrates, on the Q?rius website. Appearing on the webcast is, Dr. Karen Osborn, an invertebrate zoologist at the National Museum of Natural History. Get teaching resources to support your webcast experience.

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  • vincet-Koc
    3/23/2015 - 02:17 a.m.

    Its pretty interesting that we find new creatures almost everyday, but what is more crazy is that we don't even have half of the species uncovered.

  • zarid-Koc
    3/23/2015 - 02:25 a.m.

    The big picture ure to me looks like a deformed jellyfish. The second picture looks like a shrimp and a jellyfish mixed together. It's very interesting when you think about it. A new creature for us to learn about someday. Wow. I know I would want to study this new creature.

  • jacobm-Che
    3/23/2015 - 01:49 p.m.

    this is amazing to know that we people on earth have yet to explore this much of the ocean and there so much to find in the deep blue so much to learn so much to see and all the different species and animals to find and to learn about

  • LOlivia-Cas
    3/24/2015 - 09:13 a.m.

    It's so unfortunate that we can't discover all he species of the ocean and reach the very bottom. There are so many species lingering there, some even prehistoric. Although, it might be better if it remains untouched by the human race to maintain it's most natural sate.

  • jordant-Koc
    3/24/2015 - 10:36 a.m.

    The two pictures on this article are really cool! I think its absolutely incredible that they are still discovering new things and that we continue to improve technology to find these things. I think it'd be really cool to be a biologist, because science is my favorite subject in school.

  • Connorba-Fre
    3/24/2015 - 12:56 p.m.

    It is very weird that all of these new species are just arriving with no explaination. The that are appearing in the ocean are just a few of what are still on uncharted parts of the world. The could be full with never befiore seen animals that have never been touched or seen by man.

  • elliotja-Fre
    3/24/2015 - 12:58 p.m.

    A new type of species could lead to new discoveries. Not only in the ocean is there new species, there are new species in the ground. New species mean new types of animals .New types of animals could form due to this discovery. Jellyfish are rare to find new species. This type of jellyfish looks cool and it does look like paper. Nice find!!!!

  • Alexh-Fre
    3/24/2015 - 01:00 p.m.

    We think the the ocean is all shrimp, sharks, sea turtles, and fish. What we don't know is, how many types of these things are in the ocean. Since most of the ocean hasn't been discovered yet, we don't know what types of life could be living in it. We know about the fish and the sea turtles, but we may not know about new kinds of fish and sea turtles.There could be a whole new species that we don't even know about yet! People should never think there isn't more to be discovered because there is always something new to discover.

  • Bellap-Fre
    3/24/2015 - 01:01 p.m.

    It is so strange knowing how deep our oceans can go, what lives deep in the abyss and how these animals can live so far down. Maybe these animals live so far down because in reality, we really aren't suppose to discover these species. I do find it interesting that we actually did discover some creatures like the Red Paper Lantern Jellyfish. I believe it really us something else.

  • Amandaoc-Fre
    3/24/2015 - 01:06 p.m.

    I love the ocean! What really does it for me are the amazing, unique sea creatures that dwell in the blue waters. It is amazing how many sea creatures roam in the oceans and what they look like. For example, Jelly fish are beautiful and unique creatures because of their outstanding variety of colors and jelly-like bodies.

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