ospray reef map 278x300 “Living Fossils” Give Clues To Deep Sea Life On Aussie Reef

Ospray reef

St. Lucia, Queensland – Some researchers from the Queensland Brain Institute have been utilizing high-tech gadgets to document creatures at depths which would seem impossible.

By using some new deep-sea cameras and other instrumentation which is new to Australia, a myriad of creatures were recorded on film at a depth of 1,400m below sea level 350km northeast of Carins, in the Osprey Reef. Some of the creatures documented were giant oil fish, six-gilled sharks, hordes of crustaceans and even some unidentified species, making the find rather incredible. These creatures closely resemble some prehistoric species, and have been dubbed “living fossils” and it is hoped they will provide some new insights into life in the deep sea.

Professor Justin Marshall, who was leading the team of researchers, used special high sensitivity cameras, which were placed on the ocean floor, and remote controlled, to snap some amazing photographs of these creatures. The equipment was funded by the Australian Research Council, and was built at the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Instituted in Florida.

Professor Marshal commented, “Osprey Reef is one of the many reefs in the Coral Sea Conservation Zone, which has been identified as an area of high conservation importance by the Federal Government. Therefore, it is paramount that we identify the ecosystems and species inhabiting the area. 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. We simply do not know what life is down there and our cameras can now record the behavior and life in Australia’s largest biosphere, the deep-sea.”

Exciting times lay ahead for the researchers, as more research is being funded, and these “living fossils” could lead to new discoveries, and explain just how they survive down there, when it seems impossible.