Descending to study life in deepest oceans

Posted: 03/28/2012 in all marine news

Hydro International –

Scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI, USA), University of Hawaii, Whitman College and international colleagues will conduct the first systematic study of life in the deepest marine habitat on Earth: ocean trenches.

On 26 March 2012, filmmaker James Cameron became the first person to make a solo dive to the deepest part of the ocean in his submersible, the Deepsea Challenger.

The team was awarded a USD1.4 million collaborative grant from the National Science Foundation for a three-year program of studies in ocean trenches whose depths range from 19,685 to 36,089 feet (6,000 to 11,000 metres), known as the hadal zone.

Due to the extreme pressures of these deep-sea environments and the technical challenges involved in reaching them, ocean trenches among the least explored environments on the planet.

The programme takes advantage of recent advances in imaging and collecting technology, and the sampling and exploration capabilities of the deep-diving Hybrid Remotely Operated Vehicle Nereus, which explored Earth’s deepest trench, the Mariana,in 2009, to provide new and unprecedented access to the deepest parts of the ocean floor.

The Hadal Ecosystem Studies (HADES) program includes international collaborators at the University of Aberdeen (UA) in Scotland, National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) in New Zealand, and The National Oceanography Centre (NOC) at the University of Southampton, UK.

Full story…

 

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