The researchers, led by Professor Monty Priede from the University of Aberdeen's Oceanlab, will arrive in Scotland tomorrow (Saturday, August 18). Their journey has taken them along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, an underwater mountain range between Iceland and the Azores, on board the Natural Environment Research Council's £40 million Royal Research Ship James Cook.
Professor Priede said: "It is like surveying a new continent half way between America and Europe. We can recognise the creatures, but familiar ones are absent and unusual ones are common. We are finding species that are rare or unknown elsewhere in the world."
The team of scientists mapped over 1,500 square miles, exploring the deep-sea creatures living in the depths of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. They used the latest technology to learn more about what is living in this remote and relatively unexplored deep-sea environment using remotely operated vehicles equipped with digital cameras.
With a suite of eight deep-sea cameras they were able to capture images of life on the peaks and valleys of some very rugged terrain. Colourful sponges and corals encrust rocky cliffs, whereas areas of soft sediment are populated by starfish, brittle-stars, sea cucumbers and burrowing worms. Fishes, crabs and shrimps forage over the ridge exploiting whatever they can find. Trawls, traps and corers have collected thousands of specimens for study back in the laboratory.
Professor Priede said: "We are trying to imagine what the north Atlantic would be like without the ridge that literally cuts it in half, as we think it has a major effect on ocean currents, productivity and biodiversity of the North Atlantic Ocean.
"The RRS James Cook is an absolutely fantastic facility and is allowing marine researchers to explore new environments, find new animals and study global changes in the world's oceans."
The aim of the voyage is to contribute to the wider MAR-ECO project studying biodiversity along mid-ocean ridges (www.mar-eco.no) and to the global Census research programme. Census of Marine Life is a 10-year global scientific initiative to assess and explain the diversity, distribution and abundance of life in the oceans. The team already think they may have discovered a new species of Ostracod (or seed shrimp) that was found swarming in large numbers on the western side of the ridge. Specimens are on their way to experts in Southampton where world-renowned expert, Professor Martin Angel, will ultimately determine whether this is a new species, describe it and allocate a name.
Dr Steven Wilson, Director of Science & Innovation for the Natural Environment Research Council, said: "The Mid-Atlantic Ridge is still relatively unexplored so this voyage will have played a vital role in expanding our knowledge of the biodiversity of the region."
Water currents and tides over the ridge were studied intensively and daily measurements were made of productivity in surface waters. The team left behind automatic equipment on the sea floor at six observing stations that will continue to measure and photograph over the next two years. Further voyages are planned in 2008 and 2009 that will include retrieval of the gear.
Oceanlab was responsible for assisting with the expedition management and deployed three deep ocean lander vehicles recording luminescent displays from animals living in the darkness on one of the peaks of the mid ocean ridge.
The expedition is run under ECOMAR, a £2million consortium project funded by the Natural Environment Research Council, led by the University of Aberdeen with participation from: National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, University of St Andrews, Scottish Association for Marine Science, Plymouth Marine Laboratory, University of Durham and University of Newcastle. It provides a contribution to the wider MAR-ECO project co-ordinated by Odd Aksel Bergstad of Norway and the Census of Marine Life, a global project involving over 2,000 scientists.For further information visit:
NERC Press Office | NERC
At last, butterflies get a bigger, better evolutionary tree
16.02.2018 | Florida Museum of Natural History
New treatment strategies for chronic kidney disease from the animal kingdom
16.02.2018 | Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien
Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.
But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...
Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.
The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...
Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters
Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...
Let’s say the armrest is broken in your vintage car. As things stand, you would need a lot of luck and persistence to find the right spare part. But in the world of Industrie 4.0 and production with batch sizes of one, you can simply scan the armrest and print it out. This is made possible by the first ever 3D scanner capable of working autonomously and in real time. The autonomous scanning system will be on display at the Hannover Messe Preview on February 6 and at the Hannover Messe proper from April 23 to 27, 2018 (Hall 6, Booth A30).
Part of the charm of vintage cars is that they stopped making them long ago, so it is special when you do see one out on the roads. If something breaks or...
15.02.2018 | Event News
13.02.2018 | Event News
12.02.2018 | Event News
16.02.2018 | Information Technology
16.02.2018 | Health and Medicine
16.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy