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Monday, February 12, 2024

A Robotic Referred to as the “Swiss Military Knife of Marine Analysis” Is on the Prowl for the “Jelly Net”

A analysis crew from the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Analysis Kiel is searching for jellyfish within the depths of the ocean, amongst different issues — and it is drafted in a specially-built robotic to trace them down.

“It is extremely possible that we’ll uncover new species on this cruise,” Jan Dierking, PhD, predicts of the deliberate launch of expedition MSM126, which can discover deep-sea habitats round Madeira. “We wish to see how organisms within the open water are linked to the deep sea: who eats whom, who competes with whom? I’m very excited to see what the attention on the seabed will reveal.”

That “eye” is a part of a payload of apparatus being taken on the mission, dubbed Pelagic in Situ Remark System (PELAGIOS). This might be joined by echosounders and towed cameras, dubbed the Ocean Ground Observing System (XOFOX), which can map three areas round Madeira — a deep-sea canyon, an underwater plateau, and a submarine ridge — from depths of 50m to 3km (round 164 ft to 9,800 ft).

For direct sampling, although, the crew has what it calls the “Swiss Military knife of marine analysis,” ROV PHOCA, a remotely-operated submersible robotic which might attain depths of 3km whereas feeding again stay high-definition video by way of an optical tether. In the course of the mission the robotic might be used to take samples utilizing what’s highly-technically termed the “slurp gun,” and to research what occurs throughout a “meals fall” the place natural supplies sink from the higher sea to the depths.

A serious focus of the mission is on jellyfish, and the way they contribute to the meals internet within the ocean. “This group of organisms may be very various,” says Henk-Jan Hoving, PhD, of the creatures. “A few of them can develop to tens of metres in size. Some are predators, feeding on crustaceans, fish or different gelatinous organisms. Others depend on detritus, the useless and decaying materials that’s considerable within the water column.”

“The jelly internet in all probability performs an important position within the processing of natural matter,” Dierking provides, “as a result of jellyfish can happen in massive numbers, and when such a ‘jelly bloom’ dies, probably a considerable amount of this biomass sinks. However for a lot of areas, together with Madeira, we do not know the way a lot of it truly reaches the seabed or who feeds on it.”

The mission launched at this time in Portugal, and is because of finish in Spain on 4 March; throughout the mission, schoolchildren might be invited for a query and reply session, the researchers have confirmed. Extra info is out there on the GEOMAR web site.

Foremost article picture courtesy of Henk-Jan Hoving/GEOMAR.

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