Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

The Antarctic Ocean floor

05.09.2005


The biodiversity of the seas and the ocean floors is a mystery for science yet to unravel. With this curiosity, a research team – including a biologist from the University of the Basque Country, is to set sail for the second time on an oceanographic campaign to study this biodiversity of the seas and the ocean floors of the Antarctic.

Bellingshausen Sea

The expedition, aboard the oceanographic vessel, Hesperides, will shortly be working in the Bellingshausen Sea. The reason why these waters have remained almost unexplored is due to its adverse climate which, in turn, has assured that human presence has been scarce.



On this present campaign the scientists will trawl the ocean floor at up to 2000 metres depth, using both Agassiz-trawl fitted with a closed net as well as a Box-corer.

The two methods are complementary. With the Agassiz-trawl a corridor of the sea floor is swept to catch all the species on the way in a mixed form. On the other hand the Box-corer is cast and once it hits the bottom it takes a 50cm x 50cm sample thereof for subsequent analysis on deck. With this sample we can quantify the number of each species per square metre, its biomass, and so on. Thus it is known as a quantified sample of the ocean floor.

When the samples arrive on deck they are washed and classified on board in large groups or rows: sponges, corals, polyquets, molluscs, echinoderms, fish, etc. and are photographed so that their colour when alive and external anatomy can be clearly appreciated. Finally, they are inserted in alcohol or formaldehyde for their subsequent analysis in the laboratory.

Identification of a new species

Once the animals get to port they are distributed amongst the specialists according to their group. In our case, at the Leioa campus of the University of the Basque Country in Bizkaia, two groups of vermes or sea worms are taxonomically analysed. The aim of this is to identify the species, to find out if they are new species or belong to previously described ones.

To this end, both the external and the internal anatomy of the animal are thoroughly analysed, using hand-lens and microscope. It should be pointed out that these animals measure between 1mm and 150mm.

In the laboratory itself photographs are again taken in order to identify features peculiar tot he animal and, finally, the classification of the species in question is presented in the specialist literature.

In the previous campaign, expedition members discovered a new species of vermes. The name of the species and its morphological characteristics will shortly be put forward for approval by the scientific community.

Thus, this exciting task of analysing the biodiversity of the marine floor is, little by little, bearing fruit. We trust that it is not too late, given that the experts claim that many species are disappearing – even before we know about them.

Garazi Andonegi | alfa
Further information:
http://www.basqueresearch.com

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Preservation of floodplains is flood protection
27.09.2017 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Conservationists are sounding the alarm: parrots much more threatened than assumed
15.09.2017 | Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Salmonella as a tumour medication

HZI researchers developed a bacterial strain that can be used in cancer therapy

Salmonellae are dangerous pathogens that enter the body via contaminated food and can cause severe infections. But these bacteria are also known to target...

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

3rd Symposium on Driving Simulation

23.10.2017 | Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Microfluidics probe 'cholesterol' of the oil industry

23.10.2017 | Life Sciences

Gamma rays will reach beyond the limits of light

23.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

The end of pneumonia? New vaccine offers hope

23.10.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>