Mail Buoy: May 21

Question:

Did you find any new species?

-Monjola

Answer:

Maybe, but we won’t know for a while. Finding new species can be a longer process than you might think. Official discoveries include describing the specimen, cataloging its DNA, and going through an extensive scientific review process that can take several years. The ocean twilight zone is a big place. We might find something no one has seen before, but it hasn’t happened yet.

-Joel Llopiz, WHOI biologist

Question:

Will you ever visit the midnight zone, or the abyssal zone? And do you have an estimate of how much we've really explored of our ocean?

-Hudson J.

Clark Middle School

Answer:

By some estimates, less than 20% of the seafloor has been surveyed, and even less has been seen by human eyes. And to-date most researchers have considered the twilight zone just a place to pass through on their way to the sea floor. When you consider that the ocean is a volume, we’ve explored only the tiniest fraction of this constantly changing largest living space on the planet.

Other researchers at WHOI study the midnight zone and the abyssal zone. In fact some of our colleagues just finished a cruise in the hadal zone (which is even deeper than the abyssal zone) last week.

-WHOI Communication Team

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