Sant Ocean Hall Exploration
Who would have thought that one would be able to explore the heart of the ocean in the middle of Washington D.C.? Well in the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, this becomes a reality. Sant Ocean Hall is an exhibit that highlights everything you could imagine in the sea. A segment of the exhibit focused on the twilight zone, and provided new information on an endlessly fascinating topic. For example, did you know that the deep ocean holds the largest habitat on planet earth but the hardest to explore because the creatures are so sensitive to outside forces? Bottom dwellers, creatures that live on the sea floor, bury themselves in the mud and some do not move for months at a time. Some float at the bottom and let a current carry them to new places, while others stay immobile their entire lives. These animals must catch their only source of food from morsels that fall from above or eat other creatures. Sant Hall lets people dive deeper into the ocean experience without even getting wet!
The Sperm Whale is a member of the toothed whale family. It's most interesting feature is its very large, rounded forehead and head. This head contains the biggest brain of all animals known on earth. This smart whale does not spend its entire life in the depths of the deep ocean. It usually lives in regular open ocean conditions unless it is looking for food. The whale's main prey is the giant squid. Since these squid live in the twilight zone, the sperm whale dives down 1000m, often having to hold its breath for over 90 minutes. Although the giant squid is equal is size, the sperm whale has the advantage of pulling it up toward the surface causing the squid to lose the upper hand.
The giant squid is the main source of food for the sperm whale. This magnificent creature spends its life in the deepest ocean areas causing scientists to know very little about the animal. The giant squid is the largest inveterate on the planet and has been known to reach an incredible 59ft or 18m. They also break the record for the biggest eyes (about 10in or 25cm). Since their organs are so big, they are used as a way to detect its food, even when the area is completely black. Its main food consists of a range of deep sea fish including dragonfish and orange ruffie and hokie.
Deep Sea Fish
There are a variety of fish that dwell in the darkness of the deep sea. The two pictures to the left are examples of these creatures; the Orange Roughy (top) and the Dragonfish (bottom). These two fish are main sources of the giant squids food. As you can see these fish are unique from the images of fish you see everyday. Since these fish live in complete darkness they are able to light up their bodies in a process known as bioluminescence. These creatures contain special organs called photophores that light up in order to attract prey and mate. The dragonfish has a photophore attached to a long skinline on it's chin. This is called a barbel. These fish, especially the dragonfish have huge teeth in proportion to their small bodies (about 6 inches). These creatures eat small invertebrate like the shrimp.
Deep sea shrimp are one of the more common species a scientist would be able to find in the ocean. There are numerous different species of shrimp that live in the twilight one, although they might look the same. A common food for deep sea fish, these shrimp are able to vomit or release bio-luminescent light in order to distract their predators while they make their escape Since many fish in the deep sea have very little eye sight, there attention is drawn to the lights instead of the potential food.
The microbe is a single celled organism that is the basis of all life in the ocean and on land. They are also known as bacteria and archaea. Manly found in the deepest parts of the ocean like underwater volcanoes and vents, microbes can be eaten by other animals or be inside creatures so they can produce their own food. There are countless trillions of microbes in the ocThis is vital in the ocean becuase without microbes, the smallest animals like shrimp would die from lack of food. This chain travels on throughout the entire food chain. This shows that with one gap in food supply, even by an organism too small for the eye to see, an entire ecosystem could dismantle and die off.
They Need Our Help
Many beautiful ecosystems around the world are being attacked by the human race, including the deep sea. Fishing methods such as bottom trawling is destroying the ocean floor and the life surrounding it. Also the affects of over fishing are severely hurting these creatures. Much of the life that dwells in these areas are very slow to mature and tend to reproduce later in life. These causes fisherman to over fish before they are able to reproduce. Also since many of these ares are located in the high seas, there are no regulations on the amount one is able to fish. Another factor is sea garbage. Trash is continually being dumped into the sea and floating down as far as the ocean floor. These materials are very harmful for the sensitive creatures that live there. Finally, there are many valuable oil and gas reserves that lie far beneath the ocean surface As companies grow closer to tapping into this recourse, more animals are being killed in order to get there. This part of the ocean has barely been explored, and before long, there wont be much left. Please help us protect our oceans, because without these wonderful things, we as the human race, would not be able to survive.