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What Else Can We Learn About Our  Oceans?

Flickr | Michio MorimotoWe have known for a long time that we don’t know a lot of things. One of the fundamental fears of being human is the need to know everything about our world and our place in it. This has led us to becoming the most pioneering and intelligent beings on Earth. We have left the green pastures of our little planet to explore the solar system, we have learned how to climb the highest of heights and dive to depths where there isn’t even any oxygen for us to breathe. Even so, there is still so much that has been left undiscovered.

Aliens on Earth

The ocean remains one of the greatest mysteries to us and continues to be a focal point in exploration. This is simply because we have direct access to it and it makes up over 70% of our planet yet we know very little about it. One of the burning questions we all have is: what do our oceans hide? The pressure and pitch darkness as the depth increases makes it very difficult to make quick discoveries. Technology has to be updated constantly in order to find answers about the life source of our entire planet.

Flickr | Kevin MorejonWe initially believed for many years that nothing could possibly survive where we couldn’t reach, due to the lack of light and the extreme cold temperatures. Then, in 2017, new cameras and transportation that can withstand crushing pressures were created, some even used in the Blue Planet II series. Over 6 new marine species were found in places where we cannot fathom how life is sustained. There are over one million species exist in the sea, and those are the ones we’re aware of!

When things like the Anglerfish were found, we had to question everything we thought we knew about the sea, and more importantly, our ecosystem. The sea has offered things we only thought existed in sci-fi films, but it seems that there really are aliens on earth!

Wikimedia | Masaki Miya et al.
New Species

So, what have we found more recently and what else could we find in the future?
Last year, we found a fish that is living in the deepest part we have ever managed to reach, and it seems to be the only marine life able to live there. The Mariana snailfish has been detected over 8,000 metres below sea level; that’s over 5 miles.  This beats the Ethereal snailfish found during filming of Blue Planet II which was the short-lived title bearer. As usual, we think we’ve reached the limits in finding this species. As stated in The Independent, Dr Linley who is based at Newcastle University said “Our understanding of how fish operate means that 8,200 metres is the theoretical limit”. The pressure at which the snailfish was found is the equivalent of “50 jumbo jets stacked on top of each other”, according to David Attenborough.

However, we’re sure that the ocean will surprise us yet again further down the line. And force us to rethink the working of marine life.

Future Discoveries

Roughly two thirds of all marine life remains unheard of! In total, 90% of our oceans have not been explored, so we cannot wait to find out what’s in store.

So far, seven underwater waterfalls have been discovered and scientists are sure there are a lot more. There are also rare minerals that are difficult to map hiding within the waters. If we found all the gold out of the ocean, there would be enough for everyone to have 9 pounds of gold! Ruins and lost cities have also always been central to the hopes of what we might find on our oceanic adventures, telling us things about previous lives that would be vital to us understanding the history of former civilisations.

Flickr | Futurilla We know that the ocean is able to harbour and amazing amount of diverse life, it is believed that there are tonnes of primary creatures and bacteria that enable other life to exist within the deepest trenches of the Pacific, where the tectonic plates first collided. We are only beginning to understand new aspects of our ecosystem. This year for example, the Kobudai which are capable of changing gender, to the Sixgill sharks only needing to eat once a year, showed us that we understand next to nothing about the biology of many creatures.

It seems that the sea will remain a beautiful foreign territory for a long time; it wants to keeps its secrets secret for now. We’re sure it’ll reveal itself to us in time.

By Hanna-Johara Dokal - Online Journalism Intern

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