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Mariana Trench makes history after discovery of world’s deepest fish

Mariana Trench makes history after discovery of world’s deepest fish

NEW YORK: Researcher Alan Jamieson and his team just discovered a bizarre new fish species in the Mariana Trench, an important find not just because we always love hearing about cool animals, but because of what it symbolizes about ocean exploration. This is the deepest known fish species. It’s time to explore the Mariana Trench Ocean.
Jamieson highlights the fact that knowing what lies beneath the waves is important, even if most of us will never see it: “…how can we conserve the largest habitat on Earth if we know nothing about it? In the quest to understand the entire ocean, people have to study the shallow bits, the deepest bits and everything in-between.”
You have to be pretty tough to survive the depths of the Mariana Trench, an undersea feature in the Western Pacific that lies just southeast of Japan. The trench contains the deepest part of the ocean, the Challenger Deep. Between the cold and the pressure (at the very bottom, the pressure is eight tons per square inch, and temperatures hover around freezing), the trench is so inhospitable that only a seriously weird assortment of specially adapted fish can live there, and researchers have to use special equipment to find out what’s lurking below the waves.
Here’s what we know about the “ghost fish” or “tissue paper fish,” as some have dubbed it. It appears to be an unknown species of snailfish, and it looks, well, honestly, pretty homely. At a glance, you might mistake it for a tadpole, with a bulging head and a streaming body that Jamieson says looks like a piece of tissue trailing behind it. A pair of wing-like fins completes the picture. Though it might not look pretty, it represents a huge find for science.
The fish shows that researching in steps is critical: Many studies on the trench focus on dropping to the bottom to see what’s there. These searchers slowly but steadily lowered equipment into the trench, making observations at a number of depths to see which species lived at which depth. This allowed them to map out the community living in the trench more completely, and it provided the means for spotting this strange creature. Approaching ocean research this way provides a more complete picture and given that much of the ocean remains unsurveyed, who knows what else might be lurking where we can’t see it, and whether other deep areas of the ocean might reveal hidden surprises.