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Beneath the Sea

  Creatures of the Mid-Ocean
Photo of Mid-Ocean Creature
  "Each dive brings us something new, something unexpected," says Robison.

Making up 90% of the earth's living space, a vast area known as the "mid-ocean" lies between the surface waters and the deep ocean floor. Thanks to remotely-operated vehicles (ROVs), scientists have been able to shed new light on this dark and mysterious world.

Alan joins Bruce Robison, a mid-ocean animal expert, and his research team from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute on a remote voyage into the Monterey Canyon. Cruising at a depth of 3,000 feet, the ROV Ventana sends Robison a fiber-optically-produced glimpse at the fantastic creatures that thrive at this depth. As Alan looks on in amazement, a strange, winged octopus "flies" past the camera. A transparent, angel-like ribbonfish shimmers with bioluminescent light. A skinny paralepidid fish swims upright in the water column, watching the surface for the faint silhouette of its prey.

Photo of Jelly Fish

Many mid-water creatures, like this jellyfish, rely on bioluminescence to communicate.

The ROV comes equipped with a suction arm used to bring specimens back to the surface. Robison scoops up a large, snake-like organism called a siphonophore, a little-known animal, like most in the mid-ocean, until excursions like this became possible. Slowly, remote technology is opening up this world of water to scientific exploration.

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Into the Deep: The Early PioneersInto the Deep: A Scientific RevolutionInto the Deep: Deep Ocean ArcheologyInto the Deep: Remote Control ExplorationCreatures of the Mid-Ocean Resources Teaching guide Science hotline video trailer