Tired of pondering the possibilities of what could be lurking along the ocean floor, an international team of scientists decided to find out on a month-long trawling extravaganza.
The team of researchers delved nearly three miles below the surface into a dark, cold canyon on the ocean floor.
“The abyss is the largest and deepest habitat on the planet, covering half the world’s oceans and one third of Australia’s territory, but it remains the most unexplored environment on Earth,” Museums Victoria senior curator Tim O’Hara said before the team’s departure.
Using multibeam sonar, O’Hara’s group mapped the abyss floor.
“The data gathered on this trip will be crucial to understanding Australia’s deep-sea habitats, their biodiversity and the ecological processes that sustain them. This will assist in its conservation and management and help to protect it from the impacts of climate change, pollution and other human activity,” O’Hara said.
So What Did They Find?
You don’t want to know. Be gone, shoo.
The results of this month-long excursion may have tickled the scientists, but the photos are frankly terrifying. Among other things, they found the Spiny Red Crab, the Faceless Fish, and the Cookie Cutter Shark.
(Photo : Rob Zugaro/Blogging the Abyss expedition)
According to researchers, the Faceless Fish hasn’t been seen by humans in more than 140 years. And being faceless, it still hasn’t seen us.
In addition to more than a thousand sea creatures, the scientists also found a disturbing amount of garbage.
“We have found highly concerning levels of rubbish on the sea floor,” O’Hara said. “We’re 100 kilometers off Australia’s coast, and have found PVC pipes, cans of paints, bottles, beer cans, wood chips, and other debris from the days when steamships plied our waters. The seafloor has 200 years of rubbish on it.”
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