Deep Ocean: High Pressure Trap

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The fish and other organisms that live on the bottom of the ocean have adapted to the high pressure conditions there, and no one has figured out a way to keep these animals alive in a laboratory – until now. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

“I’m building a high-pressure fish trap to capture fish at the bottom of the ocean and bring it back up onto shore and into the laboratory under the pressure and the temperature that we capture it at.”

Jeff Drazen is a marine biologist with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute.

“So, we’re talking absolutely crushing, crushing pressures. And the reason that I’m doing this is that almost all of our investigations of the life of deep sea fishes has been based on studying dead animals that we’ve brought up in nets onto the back of a ship. We really don’t have any way to study live animals – to see how they behave under different conditions, how their physiology works. And so, with this trap I’ll actually be able to have a fish in the lab under its natural conditions, to perform a variety of experiments to see how fast their metabolism is, how fast they grow, to see how sensitive their eyes are, how sensitive their noses are… a whole variety of things. And in the end, it may be possible that some of these animals can be acclimated to atmospheric pressure – then they can come out of the trap. Then, we can put them in large enclosures and look at various behaviors. How do they react to prey? How do they react to other animals? Then, of course, places like the Monterey Bay Aquarium would be very eager to get their hands on some of these rare animals to put on display so that everybody in the country can see just how amazing they are.”

We’ll hear more about observing deep ocean fish in future programs. Pulse of the Planet is presented by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.

Deep Ocean: High Pressure Trap

A marine biologist is attempting to do what has never been done before- catch live fish at ocean depths of over 5000 feet and study their behavior in a laboratory.
Air Date:05/31/2007
Scientist:
Transcript:

music

The fish and other organisms that live on the bottom of the ocean have adapted to the high pressure conditions there, and no one has figured out a way to keep these animals alive in a laboratory - until now. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

"I’m building a high-pressure fish trap to capture fish at the bottom of the ocean and bring it back up onto shore and into the laboratory under the pressure and the temperature that we capture it at."

Jeff Drazen is a marine biologist with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute.

"So, we’re talking absolutely crushing, crushing pressures. And the reason that I’m doing this is that almost all of our investigations of the life of deep sea fishes has been based on studying dead animals that we’ve brought up in nets onto the back of a ship. We really don’t have any way to study live animals - to see how they behave under different conditions, how their physiology works. And so, with this trap I’ll actually be able to have a fish in the lab under its natural conditions, to perform a variety of experiments to see how fast their metabolism is, how fast they grow, to see how sensitive their eyes are, how sensitive their noses are... a whole variety of things. And in the end, it may be possible that some of these animals can be acclimated to atmospheric pressure - then they can come out of the trap. Then, we can put them in large enclosures and look at various behaviors. How do they react to prey? How do they react to other animals? Then, of course, places like the Monterey Bay Aquarium would be very eager to get their hands on some of these rare animals to put on display so that everybody in the country can see just how amazing they are."

We'll hear more about observing deep ocean fish in future programs. Pulse of the Planet is presented by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.