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  • 4 years ago
Beyond the Abyss

Beyond the Abyss

Rebecca Morelle talks to explorers of deep ocean trenches, from film-maker James Cameron to biologists discovering dark realms of weird pink gelatinous fish and gigantic crustaceans.

The deepest regions of the ocean lie between 6,000 and 11,000 metres. Oceanographers term this the Hadal Zone. It exists where the floor of abyss plunges into long trough-like features, known as ocean trenches. The Hadal zone is the final frontier of exploration and ecological science on the planet.

At its most extreme, the water pressure rises to 1 tonne per square centimetre and the temperature drops to 1 degree C. Despite the challenging conditions, some animals survive and thrive in the trenches. Because the technical challenges to operating there are so high, we are only now just learning what is down there and how creatures adapt to life in the extremes.

Based at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, deep sea ecologist Alan Jamieson is one of the premier explorers of life in the Hadal z