In pictures: new deep sea creatures

By AG Staff 29 July 2010
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Australian scientists have captured images from the ocean depths, revealing strange new critters.


WEIRD AND WONDERFUL CREATURES of the deep sea have been captured on film for the first time by Australian scientists. Those caught on film include a six-gilled shark thought to be new to science, giant oil fish and crustceans.

Using newly developed camera technology, researchers from the Queensland Brain Institute filmed marine animals at depths of 1400 m under the surface near Osprey Reef, 350km northeast of Cairns. The special light-sensitive camera were remotely controlled by the team, led by Professor Justin Marshall.

“As well as understanding life at the surface, we need to plunge off the walls of Osprey to describe the deep-sea life that lives down to 2000m, beyond the reach of sunlight, says Justin. “We simply do not know what life is down there and our cameras can now record the behaviour and life in Australia’s largest biosphere, the deep sea.”

The team also managed to capture footage of the Nautilus, an octopus-like cephalopod that inhabits a large shell (often prized souvenirs) that has remained largely unchanged for millions of years.

“Learning more about these creatures’ primitive eyes and brain could help neuroscientists to better understand human vision,” says research student Andy Dunstan.