Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Deep Sea Spies: A Collaborative Science at 2,000m Depth

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Maria Gill
Maria Gill
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Want to go fishing without harming the fish? This is the citizen science program you need. Principle: Annotate the images taken by cameras on the ocean floor, to indicate the types of animals that can be seen in the images. “Deep Sea Spy” is a “serious game” that can be accessed for free on the InternetIt can be played on a mobile phone. Its creator and director, Marjolaine Matabos, is a researcher at the Ifremer Brittany Center, specializing in marine ecology in the deep environment. In 2017, I launched this “Spy…” which consists of looking at images recorded by underwater observatories at two locations, one on the bottom of the Atlantic, and the other on the bottom of the Pacific. the first, Managed by CNRS and Ifremer, at a depth of 1,700 m off the Azores in the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, an underwater terrain located roughly in the mid-Atlantic; The second is It is located in the Juan de Fuca mountain range, at a depth of 2,200 meters.

Neither the mouth nor the anus

Submarines, such as Ifremer’s Nautile, are necessary to go to great depths in order to gain access to these observatories, especially to their cameras, particularly in the context of their maintenance. Thus, Margolin Matapos made a number of dives in which she had the opportunity to talk about schoolchildren, college and high school students to whom she would regularly introduce the “Deep Sea Spy”. Always stimulating exchanges where the most original ideas emerge. Nothing is impossible with children.confirms the scientist, who remembers the day she was offered to taste the fish with a butterfly net.

But it is useless to wet the T-shirt to play “Deep Sea Spy”, and of course the search for the inhabitants of the depths is carried out on the photos. Warning: You must have a lot of ideas to play this game. Because the cameras don’t move much, the idea is to watch from the same angle of view on a scale “Multi-year or even over a decade” Explains researcher Ifremer. Hence the mussels are no more! The fact remains that surprises are there, as an entire ecosystem is revealed by cameras directed at the hydrothermal springs. Various animals already live near these heat points, and get close to them up to about 30 cm, hardly more: “Think of a copper stove that gets burned if you get too close to it.”Marjolin Matabus, Comments. Among these small creatures are the strange tubeworms, which are animals that do not have a digestive system. “They have neither a mouth nor an anus, and they live in symbiosis with the microorganisms their organism hosts, which restore the oxygen contained in seawater and the hydrothermal liquid sulfide”, Marjoline Matabus explains.

tidal effect

It is clear that life in the deep sea is still full of mystery – we know we know it less than the surface of the moon – and the interest of a program like this is to learn more about this unknown. Scientists recently discovered the effect that tides can have. “It was not at all intuitive, but the behavior of the animals near hydrothermal vents seems to vary with the tidal rhythm, which they see coming out of or returning to their lair.”, explains specialist Ifremer. Because the tides affect the underwater currents, which in turn cause the dispersal of hydrothermal fluids, which leads to the movements of the worms. New analysis of images with ‘deep sea spies’ may confirm this discovery.concludes Marjolin Matabus.

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