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.
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:
- Improve the ability to explore deeper, wider and longer-term deep-sea ecosystems
- Development of large-scale in situ condition maintenance simulators
- Improve the self-adaptive capacity of the deep-sea environment
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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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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