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| Last Updated:28/09/2020

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Warming making life sparser in deep ocean

LONDON: The world's first study of deep ocean trench has confirmed climate change — excessive warming of the ocean and melting of Arctic ice — has made marine life far sparser and less varied than expected in those depths. 

British and Kiwi scientists joined hands and dived into the previously unexplored New Hebrides Trench, which lies east to the isle of New Caledonia 1,000 miles north-west of New Zealand, and captured on camera hours of footage of rarely seen animals. 

From their exploration of the trench, which plummets to depths of over 7,000 m, they discovered life in some of the deepest places on the Earth is not as predictable as once thought. 

Instead marine life in the previously unexplored 
New Hebrides Trenchwas far sparser. 

The researchers also say their findings point to the possible impact climate change could have on deep sea life. 

Voyage leader Dr Alan Jamieson of the University of Aberdeen, which carried out the expedition, said, "We set out to investigate whether the patterns of biodiversity in these medium depth trenches could be predicted by trends that we have observed in the really deep trenches that we've already studied elsewhere in the Pacific Rim.'' 

He said what they found was an entirely different deep water fish community. "Fish were surprisingly few in number and low in diversity and not at all what we expected. The fish we would always expect to see, the grenadiers, were completely absent. The fish that dominated the area were a group called cusk eels which are far less conspicuous elsewhere.'' 

Jamieson said difference in biodiversity they also stumbled across another surprise — the area in and around the New Hebrides Trench was swarming with large bright red prawns which are typically seen in very low numbers in other areas.

The Times of India (04-03-2014)