Most of the world’s oceans have yet to be explored - in fact, only about 20 percent have been mapped in detail. One area in particular offers scientists some of Earth’s greatest mysteries and potential for discovery. The mesopelagic, often called the ocean’s twilight zone, extends from 200 to 1,000 meters below the sea’s surface. Linking all of the world’s oceans, the mesopelagic is the largest continuous biome on Earth, yet is still poorly understood. The zone is home to deep-sea corals, unique animals with skeletons of carbonate or protein, which form staggeringly beautiful and almost totally unknown forests around the world on the mesopelagic seafloor. Beyond their beauty, deep-sea corals provide a unique window into understanding our rapidly changing oceans. Their organic (hard, protein-based) skeletons contain a detailed record of past changes of carbon and nutrient cycling.
Join Matthew McCarthy and Thomas Guilderson, UC Santa Cruz, to learn more about deep-sea corals, experience two virtual dives collecting coral specimens with footage and images from real expeditions, and see how recent research of deep-sea corals allows for the reconstruction of past and current climate changes.
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