Did You Know ...

... that new animal species are being discovered in the Atlantic Ocean near the Azores?

You might think that every plant and animal species in Europe has already been discovered. But you'd be way off. At least in those out-of-the-way places, such as deep in the ocean around the Azores, the search continues for new animal species. For example: Kirsten and Joachim Jakobsen, a German husband and wife team, dive more than a kilometer below the surface of the Atlantic Ocean in their LULA 1000 submarine. It's one of only ten submarines anywhere in the world that can withstand the immense pressure of 100 bar.

When Hartmut Arndt, Professor of Ecology at the University of Cologne, heard about the two underwater filmmakers on a radio program, he got in touch with the Jakobsens in order to advance his own research in the field of nanofauna. He wanted to investigate the importance of microscopic unicellular and simple multicellular organisms for the carbon balance in the deep ocean. The first step of this project is to quantify the different species and image their vertical distribution e.g. by using a 3D model.

These tiny animals are only a few micrometers in length. In order to identify them, the Jakobsens collected samples from the ocean by using a faucet-like mechanism directly inside their submarine. The Jakobsens and Professor Arndt's students were then able to study the one-celled organisms on-site with the help of the ZEISS Primovert routine microscope. Of course the couple hasn't stopped filming and photographing larger animals like fish, jellyfish, shrimp and squid. It turns out there are a lot of new species to discover after all.

24 February 2016

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