Investigator Of The Abyss

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Courtesy of Museums Victoria / CSIRO

Thanks to National Public Radio (USA) and Kat Lonsdorf for a brief look into the deep work of Tim O’Hara:

Explorers Probing Deep Sea Abyss Off Australia’s Coast Find Living Wonders

Far below the surface of the ocean, off the coast of eastern Australia is an area simply known as “the abyss.” The largest and deepest habitat on the planet, the abyssal zone stretches well beyond Australia’s waters and spans half the world’s oceans — but it remains largely unexplored.

Marine biologist Tim O’Hara recently set out change that, on a month-long expedition with about two dozen scientists from seven countries. The voyage dredged up hundreds of previously unknown species along the way.

All Things Considered‘s Ari Shapiro spoke with O’Hara via satellite phone on his final day aboard the research vessel Investigator.

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Dr. Tim O’Hara (far right) and a group of scientists crowd around a screen to see what a video camera lowered down into the abyss will show. Rob Zugaro/Courtesy of Museums Victoria / CSIRO

“It is really a voyage of discovery,” O’Hara says. “It’s kind of amazing in the 21st century that you can still do that, but yes you can!”

The team has been sending equipment down to depths of 4,000 meters, or about 13,000 feet, to scrape along the bottom of the sea floor and collect creatures who call the abyss home. It’s a tough ecosystem to live in, O’Hara says.

“It’s a place of crushing temperatures and no light and very little food,” he says. “One of the great extreme environments of the planet.”

Among the notable finds of the month was a “faceless fish” that hadn’t been documented in the waters of Australia since 1873. The eel-like fish has a mouth on the bottom of its body and eyes buried deep underneath its skin. It sucks up crustaceans and other tiny sea creatures off the bottom of the ocean floor, O’Hara says…

Read the whole story here.

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