Ann Bucklin, professor of marine sciences, recently took part in a research cruise aboard the R/V Henry B. Bigelow exploring the deep layers of the North Atlantic Slope Water off the coast of New England, together with oceanographers and engineers from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and the National Marine Fisheries Service.
The expedition, which took place Aug. 10-21, was the inaugural cruise of the Ocean Twilight Zone initiative, a six-year, $35 million effort that is using innovative technologies to document the many remaining mysteries of the ocean’s deep and dark layers from 200 to 1,000 meters below the surface.
A combination of sonars, cameras, and sampling systems was used to try to quantify how many and what kind of animals live in this dimly lit swath of ocean hundreds of meters below the surface. They found an abundance of marine life, including zooplankton, squids, salps, and fish. The findings suggest that the sea’s murky depths may host more life than previously thought.