Sunday, January 24, 2021
Home Lead Story British-led Nekton Scientific Mission in Indian Ocean Reaches an End

British-led Nekton Scientific Mission in Indian Ocean Reaches an End

The oceans' role in regulating climate and the threats they face from global warming are underestimated by many. Scientific missions are crucial in taking stock of underwater ecosystems' health

The British-led Nekton scientific mission on Thursday completed a seven-week expedition in the Indian Ocean aimed at documenting changes beneath the waves that could affect billions of people in the surrounding region over the coming decades.

Little is known about the watery world below depths of 30 meters (yards), the limit to which a normal scuba diver can go. Operating down to 450 meters with manned submersibles and underwater drones off the island nation of the Seychelles, the scientists were the first to explore areas of great diversity where sunlight weakens and the deep ocean begins.

The oceans’ role in regulating climate and the threats they face from global warming are underestimated by many. Scientific missions are crucial in taking stock of underwater ecosystems’ health.

Principal scientist Lucy Woodall called the mission “massively successful,” saying that members believe they have found evidence near several coral islands of a so-called rariphotic zone, or “twilight zone,” located between 130 and 300 meters deep.

indian ocean
Seychelles President Danny Faure, left, sits inside a submersible on the deck of vessel Ocean Zephyr, off the coast of Desroches, in the outer islands of Seychelles, April 13, 2019. VOA

“The rariphotic zone has been shown in a number of papers in the Atlantic and Caribbean but has never previously been shown in the Indian Ocean,” Woodall said, adding that months of analysis will be needed to confirm the discovery.

In this twilight zone that sunlight barely reaches, photosynthesis is no longer possible and species that cannot move toward the ocean’s surface rely on particles falling from above for sustenance. Woodall also said she was excited to see “vibrant” communities of fish during the mission.

“We’re seeing schools of small fish – that middle of the food chain – but we’re also seeing a large number of big predators – the sharks and all the other fish predators as well that are there. So this shows that protection works,” she said.

With the expedition over, the long work of analysis begins. Researchers conducted over 300 deployments, collected around 1,300 samples and 20 terabytes of data and surveyed about 30 square kilometers (11.5 sq. miles) of seabed using high-resolution multi-beam sonar equipment.

Woodall estimated her team will need up to 18 months of lab work to process and make sense of the data gathered during the expedition. The data will be used to help the Seychelles expand its policy of protecting almost a third of its national waters by 2020. The initiative is important for the country’s “blue economy,” an attempt to balance development needs with those of the environment.

On Sunday, President Danny Faure visited the Nekton team and delivered a striking speech broadcast live from deep below the ocean’s surface, making a global plea for stronger protection of the “beating blue heart of our planet.”

indian ocean
Little is known about the watery world below depths of 30 meters (yards), the limit to which a normal scuba diver can go. VOA

For Nekton mission director Oliver Steeds, Faure’s visit was a win for the ocean.

“I hope our ability to broadcast live from the ocean has helped put the oceans back on the map in the boardrooms, the corridors of power and in the classrooms,” Steeds said. “That’s where the decisions need to be made to fundamentally secure our future and the improved management and conservation of our ocean.”

He said mission members hope that nations across the Indian Ocean will have the political will to improve the management and conservation of their waters.

ALSO READ: Reason Revealed Behind the Crash of Israeli Spacecraft

“It’s been an extraordinary aquatic adventure,” Steeds said. “We’re delighted that so many people around the world have been following our progress but it only really matters if the Seychelles can continue to take a lead on the world stage as a beacon of hope for ocean conservation.”

This is the first of a half-dozen regions the mission plans to explore before the end of 2022, when scientists will present their research at a summit on the state of the Indian Ocean. (VOA)

STAY CONNECTED

19,120FansLike
362FollowersFollow
1,773FollowersFollow

Most Popular

Bilingual Homes Makes The Child More Attentive

 If your child grew up speaking two different languages, it can shift your attention between different tasks quicker than those who pick up a...

Yerwada Jail Is Now Unlocked For Tourists

Marking a new chapter for tourists, the Maharashtra government will throw open important prisons in the state for 'jail tourism', starting this Republic Day...

Mountain Kilimanjaro Is Scaled By A Telangana IPS Officer

The Indian Police Service IPS official reached the top of Mountain Kilimanjaro, 5,895 meters above sea level, on January 21 at 08.15 a.m. (local...

Amit Shah Claims North East Has The Potential To Become A Tourist Hub

Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday said that the central government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is leaving no stone unturned in...

Swara Bhasker Says That The Idea Is To Try Things One Hasn’t Done Before

Actress Swara Bhasker has donned multiple looks in her new web series, Aapkey Kamrey Mein Koi Rehta Hai, and she says trying different things...

How Financial Institutions Assess Your Financial Health And What You Can Do To Improve It

Everyone works hard to make the right financial decisions in their lives. Doing so involves adopting practices like saving money and making secure investments....

7 Great Teachings Of Guru Acharya Chanakya

BY SHWETA PORWAL Chanakya, traditionally identified as Kautilya or Vishnugupta was born in the 3rd century BC (350-275 BC) in Patliputra. Chanakya was born to...

CT Helps Catch Liver Disease

Researchers have identified that multiple CT findings can identify patients with high-risk non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) -- advanced fibrosis or cirrhosis, that is...

Recent Comments