Privacy of Fish Living in 7,200m Pacific Trench Violated by Scientists

By Gary Cutlack on at

A group of scientists have sent their probing vehicles to the bottom of the New Hebrides Trench, a literal hole in the Pacific some 7,200m deep. Their findings suggest each deep ocean trench may have a different ecological make-up, and there's no stock set of deep-living creatures that inhabit every deep sea hole.

The mission, a joint effort between fish paparazzi at Aberdeen University and New Zealand's National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, explored the New Hebrides Trench, south of the islands of Vanuatu.

Dr Alan Jamieson, from the University of Aberdeen's Oceanlab team, said of what they saw down there: "The surprising thing was that there was a complete and utter lack of one of the most common deep sea fish we would expect to see. Anywhere else around the Pacific Rim, around the trenches we've looked at, you see a lot of grenadiers -- they are quite a conspicuous part of the deep-sea community. But when we went to the New Hebrides trench, we didn't see a single one."

Instead, cusk eels and prawns were the kings of the Hebrides Trench, species that are good at eking out their existences in low-food environments. [BBC]