What Eats What: A Landlubber’s Guide to Deep Sea Dining

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You’ll by no means go to dinner within the deep sea. It’s darkish, huge and bizarre down there. If the strain alone didn’t destroy your land-bound physique, some hungry sea creature would in all probability attempt to eat you.

Fortuitously for you, one thing else has spent lots of time down there, serving to to organize this information to deep sea eating.

For almost three a long time, robots with cameras deployed by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Analysis Institute have glided by way of the ocean off the coast of central California at depths as deep as two and half miles beneath.

Cameras on these remotely operated automobiles captured the feeding habits of something that didn’t flee them. They revealed 242 distinctive feeding relationships comprising 84 totally different predators and 82 totally different prey gadgets. Constructing on prior analysis utilizing different strategies, these movies improve understanding of the deep sea meals net, significantly the jelly dishes and diners.

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A remotely operated underwater automobile, or R.O.V., deployed by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Analysis Institute, which captured photographs of underwater creatures devouring one another — a minimum of, those who didn’t flee it.

Credit score
Anela Choy/Monterey Bay Aquarium Analysis Institute

It was as soon as thought that these wobbly mounds of water weren’t value being eaten. However because of the cameras mounted on the researchers’ underwater probes — and elsewhere on penguins, monk seals and sea turtles — we now understand that gelatinous animals aren’t simply ravenous predators invading the ocean, however main meals gadgets in a fancy net of interactions.

You’re in all probability extra accustomed to that net as a sequence, ending within the tuna in your dinner plate. That lovely hunk of crimson meat was as soon as a prime predator. But when it weren’t for the meals net deep beneath the ocean — a complete assortment of crustaceans, worms, fish, jellies and squids feasting on each other miles beneath the fishing boat that caught your tuna — there’d be no meals to forage and no tuna to catch.

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