World

Voyage into the unknown explores Indian Ocean's hidden depths

7 February 2019 - 55   - 0

A mission to explore uncharted depths in the Indian Ocean was launched on Wednesday, hoping to discover hundreds of new species and find out what impact plastic is having way below the surface.

The First Descent expedition, led by British-based ocean research institute Nekton, is set to send submersibles as deep as 3,000 metres off the Seychelles from March to test the health of the ocean.

The project was launched at the Commonwealth headquarters in London.

"The mission is focusing on 30 metres down to 3,000 metres. This is where you get the peak diversity of species," said Professor Alex Rogers, part of the scientific team.

"In the Indian Ocean, the deeper zones are almost completely uninvestigated. We simply don't know what's there."

The Oxford University deep sea biologist said that the mission could find 100 to a thousand new species, including lots of new corals.

"The more you zoom in, the more diversity you're going to find. I'm really confident that we'll discover many new species," said Rogers.

"The ocean is suffering serious degradation from overfishing, pollution and climate change. It's critically important to understand how life is distributed in the oceans now, so we can make decisions better to manage the oceans."

- Plastic mystery -

The $5 million (4.4 million euro) collaboration brings together 47 partners from business, philanthropy, sub-sea technology, media and civil society. 

The Ocean Zephyr mothership is on its way from Bremerhaven in Germany to the Seychelles. It will be home to 50 scientists, engineers and technicians during the project.

Its two submersibles will take 17 different research tools and technology into the deep, along with 18 cameras to create the first three-dimensional maps of deep sea ecosystems. Some of the dives will be broadcast live.

Ocean campaigner Emily Penn, a Nekton trustee, said the expedition could shed light on the impact of plastic thousands of metres below the surface.

"We really don't know what's going on in the deep ocean when it comes to plastic," she said.

"We know eight million tonnes of plastic is going into the ocean every year and we're only finding a fraction of it on the surface. The big question is: where is all the rest of it going?

"We expect that it's mostly sinking -- but until we actually go there, we don't know how much is down there and the impact it might be having."

AFP

A handout picture from 2016 released by ocean research institiute Nekton shows a submersible craft working above the seabed off the coast of Bermuda

  Comments - 0

  • Leave a comment



Top Stories

Close accomplice of 'Kanjipaani Imran' arrested with heroin

A close accomplice of drug racketeer 'Kanjipaani Imran' was taken into custody in Salamulla, Kolannawa today (Feb 23). The sus...

23 February 2019 - Views : 22

Man dies in Araliya Uyana shooting

23 February 2019

Certain faction in NFF opposed to SLPP-SLFP alliance : MP Weerawansa

23 February 2019

Parliament report on brawl : 59 MPs accused of committing offences ; 54 representing SLFP

23 February 2019



style="display:inline-block;width:300px;height:250px"
data-ad-client="ca-pub-6200193111498313"
data-ad-slot="1999573490">

 

Features & Analysis

Down Town Pulse arts festival to get underway on Feb 25

The eclectic Bakeriya Space in Kottawa will once again be home to the Down Town Pulse arts festival, starting on 25...

In Pictures: Second day of the Gangarama Navam Perahera

Captured here are images from the second day of the Gangarama Navam Perahera which took place yesterday. Pix ...

In pictures: Gangarama Perahera

The Gangarama Navam Perahera will take procession today for the second day. The perahera which began yesterda...

'Missing Lovers' : Reflections by families of the disappeared

Marking Valentines Day in a different way, Colombo-based NGOs brought families of the disappeared from across the cou...



style="display:inline-block;width:300px;height:250px"
data-ad-client="ca-pub-6200193111498313"
data-ad-slot="1999573490">