Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column in the East Kent Mercury:The deep ocean represents 95% of the living space on the planet and yet we know very little about it and what life forms exist within it. However, it plays a key role in supporting life on earth e.g. in regulating the air we breathe but it is being subjected to rising temperatures, ocean acidification and human waste.
A new research mission is taking place, beginning off the coast of Bermuda, where a variety of new species have already been found. A daily occurrence, only recently witnessed by human eyes, is the largest migration on Earth when billions of marine creatures rise to the surface from as far as 2 kilometres deep to the upper layers of the ocean at night in search of food, only to return to the deep when the sun rises.
The state of the deep sea has been sidelined by the concern generated by the coral bleaching that has nearly destroyed the corals of the Great Barrier Reef. Coral bleaching is not a problem for the deeper corals, away from the surface, but the excess heat being absorbed by the oceans, along with the increased acidity from the extra carbon dioxide, is altering the deep sea.
Little is known about how coral is replenished but theories suggest that deep sea corals help regenerate the shallow water corals that are bleached and die. If this is so, any change in the deep oceans will have a profound effect on the ecosystem services the oceans provide.
Victoria Nicholls. Transition Deal.