I love visiting the seashore, but I hate going into the ocean. Humans have only explored about five percent of the ocean’s ecosystems. Who knows what could be lurking in those waves?
For instance, have you heard that scientists have only just started exploring between about six hundred fifty and a thirty-three hundred feet below the surface? They call this the “twilight zone.”
This Is The Ocean Of Imagination
It’s not a reference to the show, it’s a reference to the amount of sunlight that reaches that part of the ocean. That means little to no sunlight reaches those depths.
There’s way more life down there than we once thought! Like fish, squid, crustaceans, jellyfish, and plenty of other mostly tiny creatures. Which is pretty neat, because the animals that live in or travel to the twilight zone do some fascinating things, including using bioluminescence. Plus, they help regulate the climate by absorbing atmospheric carbon from the phytoplankton they eat.
A Fish With A Mouth Full Of Fangs
That all sounds cool, but let me tell you about the twilight zone’s (and the world’s!) most common vertebrate. It’s a fish about the size of your finger, called the “bristlemouth” because its mouth is full of fangs.
Sources And Further Reading:
- Broad, William J. “An Ocean Mystery in the Trillions.” New York Times, 29 June 2015. Accessed November 5, 2018.
- Goldfarb, Ben. “Illuminating the Ocean’s Teeming Twilight Zone, Before It Disappears.” Smithsonian Magazine, Smithsonian.com, 13 April 2018. Accessed November 5, 2018.
- Kintisch, Eli. “What lives in the ocean’s twilight zone? New technologies might finally tell us.” Science, 23 August 2018. Accessed November 6, 2018.
- “NASA, NSF Plunge Into Ocean ‘Twilight Zone’ to Explore Ecosystem Carbon Flow.” NASA, 18 June 2018. Accessed November 6, 2018.
- “The Ocean Twilight Zone.” Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. Accessed November 6, 2018.
- Simon, Matt. “Unraveling the Mystery of the Ocean’s Twilight Zone.” Wired, 8 June 2016. Accessed November 6, 2018.