Deep Ocean: Intro

music

If sometimes it seems that all the secrets of the Earth have been unraveled and that there’s nothing left to discover, take heart — there is a part of our world that remains relatively unknown. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

“The ocean is the least explored environment on the planet. Most of this is in the deep sea, and that is at depths greater than, say, 1,000 meters. It’s virtually unexplored.”

Jeff Drazen is a marine biologist with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. He and other scientists are beginning to investigate the deep ocean environment.

“The deep sea is a very harsh place to live. You have crushing pressures and it’s extremely cold, usually just above freezing. And there is no light. Because there’s no light, you don’t have any plants. You don’t have any production of food right there, with the exception of a few places, so all of the animals in the deep sea have to rely on dead things sinking to them from the surface waters where there is light.

Fishes in the deep sea have many adaptations to cope with their environment. Many of them have very well-developed eyes so that they can see in either very low light levels or so that they can see the light produced by other organisms. This allows them to find prey and to communicate with members of their own population for reproduction. Many fishes in the deep sea also are very slow and lethargic compared to those fishes we’re used to seeing shallow waters. They have very low metabolisms. They grow very slowly, and from some limited information that we’ve just been starting to gather, they have very low reproductive rates.”

We’ll hear more about the deep ocean in future programs. Pulse of the Planet is presented by the National Science Foundation.

Deep Ocean: Intro

You don't need to travel to another planet to explore the unknown- 95% of our oceans remains unexplored. Join us as we learn about the deep sea, an environment of extremes.
Air Date:06/22/2004
Scientist:
Transcript:


music

If sometimes it seems that all the secrets of the Earth have been unraveled and that there's nothing left to discover, take heart -- there is a part of our world that remains relatively unknown. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

"The ocean is the least explored environment on the planet. Most of this is in the deep sea, and that is at depths greater than, say, 1,000 meters. It’s virtually unexplored."

Jeff Drazen is a marine biologist with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. He and other scientists are beginning to investigate the deep ocean environment.

"The deep sea is a very harsh place to live. You have crushing pressures and it’s extremely cold, usually just above freezing. And there is no light. Because there’s no light, you don’t have any plants. You don’t have any production of food right there, with the exception of a few places, so all of the animals in the deep sea have to rely on dead things sinking to them from the surface waters where there is light.

Fishes in the deep sea have many adaptations to cope with their environment. Many of them have very well-developed eyes so that they can see in either very low light levels or so that they can see the light produced by other organisms. This allows them to find prey and to communicate with members of their own population for reproduction. Many fishes in the deep sea also are very slow and lethargic compared to those fishes we’re used to seeing shallow waters. They have very low metabolisms. They grow very slowly, and from some limited information that we’ve just been starting to gather, they have very low reproductive rates."

We'll hear more about the deep ocean in future programs. Pulse of the Planet is presented by the National Science Foundation.