Research on deep-sea organisms aimed at developing deep-sea technologies

Bibliometric analysis from the past five decades showed that there was a strong interrelation between the types of deep-sea equipment and the research hotspot of deep-sea organisms. Research on deep-sea organisms is gradually shifting from identifying species and environmental characteristics to exploring ecosystems and connectivity. Credit: Science China Press

The deep sea has been documented as the largest biome on earth. Typical deep-sea ecosystems such as hydrothermal vents, cold leaks, seamounts, ocean trenches and whalefalls, shatter our early understanding of the deep sea as a “no-go area” for life.

However, the difficulty of accessing deep water has limited human understanding of the unique environment characterized by high pressure, high / low temperature, limited light and nutrient scarcity in the deep sea. So far, less than 0.0001% of the entire deep-sea ecosystem has been visually observed or physically sampled.

The in-depth understanding of the biodiversity, function and service of the deep-sea ecosystem and the impact of anthropological activity are far from well known. Therefore, it is crucial to develop technologies capable of obtaining deep-sea organisms, observing ecosystem development and recording interactions with environmental changes.

A recent study led by Prof. Si Zhang (Southern Marine Science and Engineering Guangdong Laboratory) created a bibliometric analysis over the past five decades which showed that there was a strong interrelation between deep-sea equipment types and research hotspots for marine organisms. Research on deep-sea organisms is gradually shifting from identifying species and environmental characteristics to exploring ecosystems and connectivity.

Research on deep-sea organisms aimed at developing deep-sea technologies

Research findings related to biological discovery, adaptation mechanism and evolutionary process are closely in line with the developing technologies of submarines, bioreactors and molecular biological technologies. Credit: Science China Press

The research results are closely in line with developing technologies. Deep-sea submarines, microbial bioreactors, seafloor observatories and molecular biology methods have promoted the discovery of new species in the deep sea, offering new opportunities to study the adaptability of deep-sea organisms to extreme environments, as well as the biological connectivity. These technologies can help achieve controlled cultivation of deep-sea organisms with specific ecological service functions, providing a new window for the exploitation of high-value deep-sea biological resources.

Deep-sea equipment performance innovation is essential to overcome the deep-sea organism research bottleneck. In the future, it is necessary to develop advanced and specialized equipment that meets the requirements of research on deep-sea organisms to explore, detect, observe, sample, test and conduct models in the seabed environment. Different research perspectives on the biology of deep and benthic pelagic ecosystems should also be considered. The main areas of innovation are the following:

  1. Improve the ability to explore deeper, wider and longer-term deep-sea ecosystems
  2. Development of large-scale in situ condition maintenance simulators
  3. Improve the self-adaptive capacity of the deep-sea environment
  • Research on deep-sea organisms aimed at developing deep-sea technologies

    Observation technology continues to mature and improve, and its effective methods for studying the biodiversity of deep-sea organisms have been systematically applied comprehensively. To fully understand the changes and connectivity between ecosystems, it is a better choice to establish a long-term continuous observatory. Credit: Science China Press

  • Research on deep-sea organisms aimed at developing deep-sea technologies

    The range of action of service submarines is developing ever deeper. The research team is working on building a long-term underwater laboratory capable of transporting three scientists and multiple devices into the deep-sea cold infiltration ecosystem for extended periods of time to conduct multiple in-situ experiments and long-term investigations ( marked with a gold star). Credit: Science China Press

  • Research on deep-sea organisms aimed at developing deep-sea technologies

    The team is building a long-term, large-scale simulator to create an artificial ecosystem of deep-sea cold infiltration. Credit: © Science China Press

The research team is working on building a long-term underwater laboratory capable of transporting three scientists and multiple devices into the deep-sea cold infiltration ecosystem for extended periods of time to conduct multiple in-situ experiments and long-term investigations. Additionally, the team is building a long-term, large-scale simulator to create an artificial ecosystem of deep-sea cold infiltration.

The research was published in Scientific Bulletin.


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More information:
Jing-Chun Feng et al, Research on deep-sea organisms oriented towards the development of deep-sea technologies, Scientific Bulletin (2022). DOI: 10.1016 / j.scib.2022.07.016

Provided by Science China Press

Citation: Research on deep-sea organisms oriented towards the development of deep-sea technologies (2022, October 18) retrieved October 18, 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-10-deep-sea-technologies.html

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