Native Village
Youth and Education news
November 2010 Volume 3

Bizarre Deep-Sea Creatures Spotted in Australia
Condensed by Native Village

deep-sea red jellyfish Atolla

Australian scientists have found bizarre prehistoric sea life thousands of feet below Australia's Great Barrier Reef. 

Deep Sea Anglerfis

The creatures live in a dark world 4,500 feet below the ocean's surface. The pressure there is 140 times greater than on land.

The images were captured at Osprey Reef off Australia's NE coast.  It is among the many reefs in the Coral Sea Conservation Zone, an area of high conservation importance.

deep-sea hatchetfish

The scientists used custom-designed, remote-control cameras which sat on the sea floor.

"We simply do not know what life is down there, and our cameras can now record the behavior and life in Australia's largest biosphere, the deep sea," professor Justin Marshall said.

Such animals live in an environment untouched by sunlight. Marshall said it could take years for  researchers to document all the photos and cross-reference them to see if they are new species.

"One of the things that we're trying to do by looking at the life in the deep sea is discover what's there in the first place, before we wipe it out," Marshall said.

 details of a deep-sea squid's skin.

Aside from discovering new species before they go extinct, Marshall and his team hope  they can learn something about biology that may help humans as well. 

"Learning more about these creatures' primitive eyes and brain could help neuroscientists to better understand human vision," said research student Andy Dunstan.

 deep-sea viperfish

The scientists also plan to take their underwater cameras to South America's coast in search of the Giant Squid. The squid is believed to live more than 5,000 feet below sea level. It has one of the largest nervous systems of any known animal.

 Australia's 133,000-square-mile Great Barrier Reef has the largest live coral collection in the world. Scientists say it's under threat from global warming, chemical spills and ship collisions. This spring, a Chinese coal carrier rammed into the reef leaving it scarred and smeared with chemical paint from the ship's hull. 

"We have a tendency to wreck things before we even discover them," said oceanographer Lisa Levin.

 Peraphilla deep-sea jellyfish.

More photos:

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