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Project Pisces: Hidden ecosystems and lasting legacies

By Jessica Perelman, Guest Blogger

Exploring the deep ocean is by no means a simple task. It is the great frontier, the endless unknown about which we know so little. Broadly defined as the ocean and seafloor lying below 200 meters, the deep sea is by far the largest biome on Earth covering well over half of the surface of the planet. Yet, less than 5% of this global habitat has ever been investigated, due in large part to the inaccessibility of this hostile space where extreme pressures, low temperatures, and near darkness dominate. So how do scientists study the deep sea? Great advances in technology over the last century have enabled researchers to have a presence at depths far beyond those attainable by traditional scuba diving. Since the creation of the first practical bathysphere in 1934, manned submersibles have evolved as one of the most effective tools for deep-sea exploration, bringing crew and scientists to depths several thousand meters below the ocean’s surface.

Pisces V (left) and Pisces IV are three-person research submersibles operated by the Hawai’i Undersea Research Laboratory. These human operated vehicles bring researchers to maximum depths of 2,000 meters to explore the deep sea from the deep sea itself. Photo: Emily Young, Jessica Perelman

This story was originally published to the National Geographic Blog on January 10, 2018. Read the full story here. This story was originally published to the National Geographic Blog on January 10, 2018. Read the full story here.

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