A new fish species has been discovered living at the greatest depths ever explored in the Pacific Ocean, researchers announced Friday.
Biology professor Paul Yancey and students from Washington state’s Whitman College found the translucent fish swimming in the Mariana Trench, the deepest part of the Pacific Ocean and Earth’s deepest location found off the coast of Guam.
A video shows the yet-to-be-named fish gliding slowly and looks almost as if it’s wearing a diaphanous nightgown that rises and falls behind it.
In addition to discovering this new species, researchers also brought back the deepest rock samples ever collected.
These discoveries will help scientists better understand this elusive part of the sea and the creatures that live under its extreme conditions. The research also gives insight into climate change as scientists look at how much carbon the sea absorbs and the effects it has on organisms there.
While past explorations of this cavernous crescent shaped part of the sea focused on reaching its deepest spot, Challenger Deep, Whitman College scientists on research vessel Falkor targeted depths ranging from 16,404 to 34,777 feet with five deep-sea vehicles called landers.
The Mariana Trench is nearly seven miles deep at 36,201 feet. In other words, if Mount Everest were placed at its bottom, the peak would remain 7,000 feet below sea level, according to National Geographic.
Five times longer than the Grand Canyon, the trench has been protected under the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument, which former President George W. Bush put into effect in 2009. The protected area covers roughly 61 million acres of submerged lands and the waters above.