Turn off the light! – Deep sea explorations in the dark


We have discovered most on a macroscopic scale. We combed through every square meter on land, leaving no white spots on the map. We landed on the moon to investigate the universe around us. We traveled to the deepest parts of the ocean.
Is there something left to explore? Can we still find new things?

Luckily Edith Widder says YES. She is an American oceanographer and marine biologist. A particularly lucky one, as she was able to join a group of scientists using a specialized suit called WASP in order to do deep sea explorations.

Already in 1960 two courageous oceanographerss, Jacques Piccard and Don Walsh, traveled in a 5 hours trip to the deepest known spot in the ocean (Mariana Trench in the western North Pacific Ocean, 11 000 meters).

As the deepest underwater spot was already discovered, how can you possibly find something unexpected then? Well, Edith turned off the light underwater.

And what she saw was stunning, a world rich of colorfully glowing life. This phenomena is called bioluminescence. It describes the production and emission of light from a living animal. The ability to glow is a very rarely found feature on land, however underwater the light show is on. As a specialist in bioluminescence, Edith Widder built several tools to monitor glowing creatures in the deep ocean and opened up a new way to look at the sea. With one of her systems called “eye-in-the-sea”, she together with a team of scientists for the first time allowed to capture the giant squid  Architeuthis, which is around 10 to 13 meters, in its natural habitat.

Changing the perspective on already studied areas of our world can still uncover secret magic worlds.

So turn off the lights and watch the amazing deep-sea snapshots of Edith Widder:

 

Header Image(s) from Pixabay & Gratisography

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About Lisa Landskron

Being a scientist in the field of molecular biology & leading the TEDxVienna Blogger team, Lisa loves to do biochemical as well as digital experiments to create and spread ideas.

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