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 tide pools, 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. That's 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). Think of worms and jellies. They come in a variety of weird colors and shapes. Many of these midwater species have never been recorded by science. Scientists are challenged to figure out what they are.

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

Find out more watching this Smithsonian Science How webcast. It's titled Ocean Biodiversity - Discovering Marine Invertebrates. It's 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.

Source URL: https://www.tweentribune.com/article/tween56/discovering-weird-new-species-open-ocean/

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COMMENTS (175)
  • SebastianH-1
    3/20/2015 - 07:38 p.m.

    Even though the ocean might seem filled with dolphins and sea turtles, most of it is a dark, unexplored abyss with strange life. Now we are building robots and vehicles that are equipped to endure the conditions of the deep oceans to explore. This article was brief, but could have had more direct title.

  • SebastianH-1
    3/20/2015 - 07:38 p.m.

    Even though the ocean might seem filled with dolphins and sea turtles, most of it is a dark, unexplored abyss with strange life. Now we are building robots and vehicles that are equipped to endure the conditions of the deep oceans to explore. This article was brief, but could have had more direct title.

  • Eric0221-YYCA
    3/20/2015 - 08:31 p.m.

    I think that this is cool for biologists to study new species lying down in the ocean floor which could look really weird but it is still cool if biologists to find all new species with a specialized vehicle that won't be pressurized under high pressure under the deep, deep, deep ocean that is the Pacific. Well if biologist had found amazing new species even though that they look weird, it would be curious if people sees it.

  • JordanK-Kut
    3/21/2015 - 09:24 a.m.

    I think it is a good thing that we are discovering new species! I know everyone is talking about how species are becoming extinct but the more species that we find the more species we will still have if other ones come extinct! I believe that there are still millions of species that we haven't yet discovered! They could be deep in the ocean, or high in the trees, maybe even right in front of our faces but we just can't see!

  • oliviav-Koc
    3/21/2015 - 12:43 p.m.

    Not a lot of people don't know that there is so much of the ocean undiscovered. Me wanting to be a marine biologist when I grow up is huge because I hopefully one day want to discover a new species.

  • ShahrbanoR-Kut
    3/22/2015 - 11:22 a.m.

    I find it really cool that there are species of animals that haven't been discovered yet in the world. It would be really cool and funny if some looked like humans or something! I sometimes wonder if scientists have found any species of animals but didn't tell us because they were scared or not sure if it was real etc. I would love to have a species of animals named after me!

  • AustinC-Kut
    3/22/2015 - 12:27 p.m.

    This was a very interesting article because I never knew there was these kind of organisms living in our oceans and also did not know that the ocean mid water was the largest habitat on earth.I also find it fascinating that scientists know so little about this habitat given that it is the largest on earth.I'm surprised that these organisms are forcing us to rewrite what we thought we knew about marine life

  • LilyF-Kut
    3/22/2015 - 01:46 p.m.

    I think that the thought of finding new species of animals is pretty cool although it probably is pretty dangerous too. For one your new to it, you don't know the species. It could hurt you if it was dangerous.

  • alisonm-Koc
    3/22/2015 - 02:04 p.m.

    Although the ocean is very mysterious, I find it very fascinating. I wish it were easier for us to explore it and find out exactly what inhabits it. It's amazing to me that some animals can live without invertebrates.

  • BrendanB-Kut
    3/22/2015 - 02:20 p.m.

    Actually that doesn't surprise me that there could be an unknown species living in the deeps of the ocean. There is definitely a ton of water to look at and discover if there is an unknown species. But i think that our scientist will be able to do it.

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