Quick deep sea coral tutorials

Did you know that corals are living in the deep sea? That’s right, they’re aren’t only a part of the vibrant sunny reef ecosystems we’ve grown to know and love while watching movies like Finding Dory or Chasing Coral. Some species of coral live in complete darkness and withstand incredibly cold temperatures. They are just as striking in color as the shallow versions and have even been known to live up to 500 years old. Scientists use these corals as indicator species to gauge the health of the deep sea. Do you want to learn more about these jewels of the sea? Thanks to theĀ  Ecosystem Impacts of Oil and Gas Inputs to the Gulf (ECOGIG) for putting these video tutorials together. You’ll learn exactly how does a coral of the deep sea survives (i.e., there is no sunlight for photosynthesis), how scientists study them (i.e., great overview of technology and remote operating vehicles), and why scientists study them (i.e., human impacts like the Deepwater Horizon disaster). The best part is that each one is less than five minutes and it’s on Vimeo so hopefully your school hasn’t blocked it.

Thanks to Emily Davenport for sharing these with NMEA.

10 brief facts on bioluminescence

We all get excited thinking about bioluminescence in nature. Ironically, that excitement is only one of the reasons animals glow like an elf in Middle Earth. Here are some ‘basics on bioluminescence’ you can share with your friends and family the next time you all ogle a firefly and wonder ‘why?’.

Deep sea neighborhood sees improvement when philanthropic vents release Fool’s Gold

“As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” King Solomon

There is not a lot life down in the deep sea. Fortunately, it is convenient that the hydrothermal vents down there share a wealth of minerals to the otherwise desolate neighborhood. More notably what was just uncovered is that iron particles (known as pyrite or commonly called Fool’s Gold) are released by the vents and suspend in the nearby environment. This discovery was made by researchers at the University of Delaware.

While it is not surprising that these vents release iron, what is shocking is that it does not fall directly to the bottom of the ocean floor as previously thought. Since the size of the iron particles that are released by the hydrothermal vents are so tiny (a diameter 1,000 times smaller than that of a human hair) they are actually dispersed throughout the water column of the deep sea this is turn helps create a richer more vibrant deep sea neighborhood than deep sea areas without vents.

“As pyrite travels from the vents to the ocean interior and toward the surface ocean, it oxidizes gradually to release iron, which becomes available in areas where iron is depleted so that organisms can assimilate it, then grow,” said scientist George Luther of the University of Delaware.

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