From an unmanned submersible, protected by an almost inch thick stainless steel shell and a window made of super sapphire crystal, we can observe the life that thrive in the most extreme and darkest depths of our planet.
Thanks to technology and strong material strength, we can temporarily enter this high pressure environment.
But in stark contrast to the powerful deep-sea imaging devices we rely on, the creatures in our camera records look very fragile. Four-and-a-
Half a mile below our research boat floating on the surface of the Pacific Ocean, we took shots of several previously undiscovered Hadar Steeley fish.
They have delicate fins and transparent plastic bodies, and are one of the most mysterious inhabitants of the environment, and at first glance they seem unable to survive under such great pressure.
However, they seem to thrive in this strange world.
In spring, a team of 40 scientists from 17 different countries explored the Atacama Trench along the west coast of South America.
We went there to find a special sn fish.
In a previous expedition, our chief investigatorAlan Jamieson)
Took a fish with long wings.
Like a fin 7,000 deep.
There is only one species, Notoliparis kombruuni living in this region in such depth.
This is described from a single sample and the damage is so severe that we can't use it to identify our living animal images.
We want to find this elusive winged ironfish again, learn more about it and observe it in its natural habitat.
These hardar sn fish often live in the depths of 7,000 to 8,200 (
"Hadal" means anywhere under 6,000 m)
But their apparent rarity may have been misunderstood.
Because of their extreme habitat (
At least for humans)
It's hard for them to observe, as we know, rather than actually being "rare ".
With the right equipment and opportunities, after ten years of study, we are confident to know where and how to find them.
The Atacama Trench is part of Peru.
Chile's push belt is a large area with an area of 590,000 square kilometers. One of the plates is squeezed under another plate and the bottom of the Sea sinks rapidly to more than 8,000.
Its volume is almost the same as that of the nearby Andes, and the constructed push Belt also creates this mountain range, which is not easy to explore.
We have deployed 27 free fall cameras, from the relative sand pit of 2,500 to the deepest point of the trench of more than 8,000 Richard.
This allowed us to take more than 100 hours of video and 11,000 photos under the sea, and the results were not disappointing.
The fish we were looking for appeared, and it was not alone.
Two other previously unknown black line fish appeared in the video.
In fact, all three species have appeared in the same photo.
Out of necessity, they get fast, standing
On the name: we call them "purple", "Pink" and "blue" Atacama sn fish.
"Blue" seems to be the "winged" species previously recorded by Jamieson.
Its long tailfin and protruding nose are like the ethereal snapper we recorded on another expedition to the Mariana Trench, far off the other side of the Pacific Ocean.
At the same time, the "pink" species are more robust and look closer to the Mariana Steeley fish (
Pseudo Liparis swirei)
This is what we described in 2017 and also exists in the Mariana Trench.
Seeing the two species-with such a different body plan-share a trench, we think again: they have to do something different from each other there to create a niche for themselves.
The third, a small purple fish, looks more like the sea fish we see on the shallow deep Plains, about 3,500 deep.
But one of the 9 cm-meter-long purple sn fish follows its spine-free prey into one of our traps.
This small and fragile fish is currently the only physical sample of this new species and should eventually allow us to give it a formal scientific name.
While we prefer videos of our live animals, there is only one physical specimen that can be stored in the museum to formally describe a new species.
The surface is preserved once, and when it is suspended in the cold water, we take this sample-its body is too fragile to support itself in the air, what we don't want it to suffer with the poor blob on the record is that it's really not that sadlooking (their jelly-
Just like the body crashes when exposed to the surface).
Over the next few months, we performed several stages of preservation of the specimen to avoid most of its gel-like contraction of the body.
So the scientists
And interested public)
Instead of having to argue about getting a single, fragile sample, it was also scanned at the Natural History Museum in London, and a detailed 3D digital model was made both inside and outside.
This digital backup is becoming more and more popular in science-scanning all fish items, for example.
The recent fires and other disasters at the National Museum of Brazil also illustrate why they are so important.
But what do we find about these mysterious creatures?
First, when fish are close to the absolute extremes of the environmental conditions they can cope with, they can not only survive, but also thrive.
Some trenches ditch supports not only a single professional species, but also the physical plans of multiple species, which suggest different lifestyles within the trenches.
Second, the sn fish family (Liparidae)
Not only the absolute winner of the deepest fish Prize (
Found in multiple other trenches)
But species live in trenches that are sometimes more than 10,000 km kilometers apart and completely isolated from each other.
Incredibly, no matter where these extreme depths are, snailfish exists in these extreme depths, and the amount is never thought.
Snailfish is just a story that appears in our adventure.
Over the next few months, we will continue to process the vast amount of data we collect, the most data we have collected on a single voyage.
Our assessment of the large moving animals we shot will help the project to understand the larger goals of the biological and chemical processes within the entire trench.
This article was re-published from the conversation based on the creative sharing authorization.
Read the original text.
The expedition to the Atacama Trench is funded by BMBF (for ship time)
And the ERC project Hades (
Senior researcher, European Research CouncilNr. 669947;
The role of underwater rock formation and microbial action in the hadal trench ")
The Southern University of Denmark and the Mapu society will be part of the 2018 challenger meeting held at the University of Newcastle in September 1014.