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 Global threat to primates concerns us all
19.01.2017 | Deutsches Primatenzentrum GmbH - Leibniz-Institut für Primatenforschung

nachricht Reducing household waste with less energy
18.01.2017 | FIZ Karlsruhe – Leibniz-Institut für Informationsinfrastruktur GmbH

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: Scientists spin artificial silk from whey protein

X-ray study throws light on key process for production

A Swedish-German team of researchers has cleared up a key process for the artificial production of silk. With the help of the intense X-rays from DESY's...

Im Focus: Quantum optical sensor for the first time tested in space – with a laser system from Berlin

For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.

According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Breaking the optical bandwidth record of stable pulsed lasers

24.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Choreographing the microRNA-target dance

24.01.2017 | Life Sciences

Spanish scientists create a 3-D bioprinter to print human skin

24.01.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>