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

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

Happily for you, one thing else has spent quite a lot of time down there, serving to to arrange this information to deep sea eating.

For almost three many years, robots with cameras deployed by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Analysis Institute have crawled alongside the ocean flooring off the coast of central California at depths as deep as two and half miles under.

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


A remotely operated underwater automobile, or R.O.V., deployed by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Analysis Institute, which captured pictures of underwater creatures devouring one another — a minimum of, people 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 price 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 conversant in that net as a sequence, ending within the tuna in your dinner plate. That lovely hunk of purple meat was as soon as a prime predator. But when it weren’t for the meals net deep underneath the ocean — an entire assortment of crustaceans, worms, fish, jellies and squids feasting on each other miles under the fishing boat that caught your tuna — there’d be no meals to forage and no tuna to catch.

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