Last week a group of scientists returned from a month-long deep-sea research trip off of eastern Australia. The group consisted of a team of 40 international scientists. They set out to uncover life that inhabits the abyss of eastern Australia.
The month-long voyage was called the Sampling of the Abyss. The area of interest is an almost unexplored area that is 4000 meters (13123.36 feet) below the ocean’s surface. The scientists set out hoping to discover new deep-sea species.
Dr Tim O’Hara, Museums Victoria’s Senior Curator, Marine Invertebrates and Chief Scientist of Sampling the Abyss said:
“The abyss is the largest and deepest habitat on the planet, covering half the world’s oceans and one third of Australia’s territory, but it remains the most unexplored environment on Earth. We know that abyssal animals have been around for at least 40 million years, but until recently only a handful of samples had been collected from Australia’s abyss.”
Deep down in the abyss there is no light, very little food and the temperature of the water is near freezing. Organisms that live in conditions like this are often small and move slowly. They are mostly jelly-like and often produce their own light through bioluminescence. They were eager to know what they would find in this particular area.
And why is this exploration important? Dr Tim O’Hara explains:
“The data gathered on this trip will be crucial to understanding Australia’s deep-sea habitats, their biodiversity and the ecological processes that sustain them. This will assist in its conservation and management and help to protect it from the impacts of climate change, pollution and other human activity.”
They expected to find a range of unexplored animals and new species of fish, starfish, mollusks, crabs, sponges, marine worms and sea spiders. Where they right in their findings? They found some creepy looking creatures for sure.
Or what about this crazy looking zombie worm that are commonly found living in decaying whales? That sounds like something you would see in the The Walking Dead: On the Ocean Floor. Keep that thing far away from me.
What did they think was going to happen when they showed us this “Peanut worm”? To make it even more perverted, the name “Peanut worm” actually comes from the fact that when these animals feel threatened they can contract their long head inwards and then they look like a peanut. So, kind of like when guys go in cold water and their penises shrink?
I also know that every time you guys said “Peanut worm” during your exploration you used air quotes. I bet you gave each other a little wink and a nod. It’s okay to admit it, we are all on the same page.
So cheers to all the species that they discovered down below, phallic or not. From the sea pig to the dragonfish. From the red coffinfish to the dumbo octopus. Just do yourself a favor, Mr. Peanut worm and stay away from the newly found flesh eating crustacean if you know what is good for you.