The deepest part of the ocean is in the Mariana Trench (sometimes called the Marianas Trench), located in the western Pacific Ocean. At its deepest part, it’s just under 7 miles (6.831 miles / 10.994 km / 10,994 meters) deep. Using the UK’s deepest diving vehicle – the Hadal-Lander – an international team of marine biologists, geologists, microbiologists and geneticists recently probed this area, captured video of the world’s deepest ocean life, discovered some new species and set a new record for the world’s deepest known fish.
In December, 2014, the University of Aberdeen released information and the video above, based on these scientists’ recent 30-day journey to this cavernous part of the ocean floor.
Among other things, they captured the first footage of a live and very mysterious supergiant amphipod. This creature, an extremely large crustacean, was first recovered by traps off New Zealand in 2012. The new footage shows the supergiants swimming, feeding and fending off would-be predators with its large body size and protective tail. Alan Jamieson from the University of Aberdeen was part of the expedition. He said:
Knowing these creatures exist is one thing, but to watch them alive in their natural habitat and interacting with other species is truly amazing.
The video footage also shows a type of snailfish at depths of 8,145 meters – 500 meters further down than the greatest depth that fish had been observed prior to this expedition. Jamison said:
This really deep fish did not look like anything we had seen before, nor does it look like anything we know of. It is unbelievably fragile, with large wing-like fins and a head resembling a cartoon dog.
In all, the scientists completed 92 deployments of deep-sampling equipment across the entire depth range of the trench (5000 meters to 10,600 meters deep). That’s the greatest number deployed to the Mariana Trench so far, they say.
The scientists and their diving vehicle traveled aboard Schmidt Ocean Institute’s Research Vessel Falkor.
Bottom line: An international team of scientists has set a new record for the deepest known ocean fish. They were filming in the Mariana Trench – the deepest part of the ocean.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.