Climate change affects fish living in the deepest parts of the ocean, scientists claim

Biologists used ultra-deep cameras and animal traps placed 7,000 metres under the ocean near New Zealand to make their discoveries

Rarely seen creatures that lurk 7,000m (23,000ft) under the surface of the Pacific Ocean could indicate that the deep sea is a "silent victim" of climate change.

In the world’s first deep sea biology expedition to the New Hebrides Trench in the South Pacific, scientists from the University of Aberdeen and researchers from New Zealand discovered that marine life is sparser and less varied than predicted.

The scientists set out to investigate whether the biodiversity seen in very deep trenches elsewhere in the Pacific Rim were mirrored in the New Hebrides Trench - which lies east of the isle of New Caledonia, 1,000 miles from New Zealand.

Voyage leader Dr Alan Jamieson, of the University of Aberdeen’s Oceanlab which carried out the expedition in collaboration with the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) in New Zealand, said: “What we found was an entirely different deepwater fish community.


“Fish were surprisingly few in number and low in diversity and not at all what we expected.”

Dr Jamieson said of his eleventh expedition into the ultra-deep trenches of the Pacific Rim: “We 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 team also obtained several extremely rare samples, of cusk eels, eel pouts, arrow-tooth eels and thousands of samples of small crustaceans which are now being curated in New Zealand and Australia.

Researchers deployed Oceanlab designed ultra-deep cameras and animal traps 27 times between 2,000m and 7,000m deep in the New Hebrides Trench, with a further nine deployments in the neighbouring South Fiji Basin.

The trip was the hundredth and last which in a seven-year series of projects called Hadeep (The Hadal Environmental and Education Partnership), which used the Oceanlab-designed remotely operated camera and bait equipment.

Dr Jamieson added: “The voyage unearthed a wealth of new video and nearly 10,000 images which are providing great insight into these deep-sea communities.

“These new finds are a stark reminder that even the deepest parts of the world are intrinsically linked to the productivity of the surface waters.

“Should the current system change, it is highly likely to have significant cascading effects on the deep sea community.

"The deep sea is potentially a kind of silent victim in the era of a changing climate," he added.

Video courtesy of the University of Abderdeen

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there