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Finding life in the deep sea

Finding life in the deep sea

We’re some of the first people
to explore this area. The seafloor and the oceans, really, are where life probably
first formed on this planet. The ocean covers about
70% of our planet and yet there’s still so much
that we don’t know about it. The amount of the ocean that
has been seen with human eyes? A fraction of a percentage. If we don’t know what’s there,
we can’t protect it. President Trump is considering
reducing or eliminating 11 national marine sanctuaries. Our country is blessed with
incredible natural resources, including abundant offshore oil
and natural gas reserves. Underwater protections could be
cut in the Greater Farallones, Cordell Bank… Welcome, everyone.
This is the kick off to NA085, the exploration of Cordell Bank
National Marine Sanctuary. Right now, we’re in
San Francisco Bay, and we’re on the E/V Nautilus. We’re about to set sail
tomorrow morning, and head out to Cordell Bank. The current administration
is questioning why we have these sanctuaries. And so, before we’ve even had
a chance to explore these areas, there’s a threat, now, to
actually changing that. We’ll do probably
eight or nine dives throughout the course
of the expedition, and document all these
regions for the first time. It’s almost like doing
a census of life in the oceans. The sanctuary is
1,286 square miles. There’s so much out there.
At least 90% of our sanctuary that
we’ve never looked at, we’ve never been able to see. When we’re in the
van, watching the screens, there’s a real thrill
of anticipation, and the thrill of
discovery and exploration. Oh my gosh!
Wow! This is just beautiful. I was on the edge of my seat, and getting as close
to the screen as I could, like, I just wanted to jump
right in and be there. Because the oceans are so deep, with incredible pressure
and dangerous conditions, humans cannot live,
or be down at those depths. Hercules is
this incredible robot. It’s like our avatar. So our hands become
the arms of the vehicle. Our eyes become the video cameras
on the vehicle. And then we can explore
the world’s oceans that way. There really is nobody
else in the world that’s doing this to
the level that we’re doing it. This set of claws
here has coral cutters. It’s like a scissor
action that comes down. This is the main HD camera here. This, essentially, is
like a vacuum in the ocean. This little guy here
is the tiki. Before every dive, the intern’s
job is to oil this guy. And the idea is that
if it’s oiled, then it’s going to be
a good dive. If you forget to oil it,
the story goes, something bad might happen. We have a coral party
down here, guys. If I was a coral, I’d be here. A lot of people are familiar
with tropical coral reefs, but there’s actually these
corals that live in the cold, dark, deep sea habitat, and they’re quite
spectacular organisms. And we target looking
for these, because they’re kind of these
biodiversity hotspots in the ocean, when
you can find them. This is the first dive time I’ve seen all the polyps
open like this. Looks like ramen noodles. A lot of times, the
samples that we collect are studied and
analyzed for their DNA. And there’s potential for
new medicines to be found. New antibiotics could
be gleaned from animals that have developed
a defense mechanism to protect themselves
in the deep ocean. We are out on deck, waiting for
the bioboxes to be opened, so we can see what
specimens we brought up. There’s one species, that
had this corkscrew shape, that has never been recorded
in North America before. Trying very hard to not pull it. So it was a new record for all
of North America, potentially. If we are able to make
these discoveries, and bring those back
to people to show them what kind of diversity and life
is in the ocean, then, if somebody wanted to
disturb the seafloor in some way, then we would be
able to have the information to say, “These sensitive
habitats are there, and this is not an
appropriate activity.” So, this is a little
hairy recovery. It’s blowing 25, 30 now. The wind kicked up
really fast this afternoon, and we were still
about 900 meters down. We’re subject to the mighty
Pacific Ocean here, and it can be forgiving
at times, but other times,
it can be placing extra demands on us,
like it is right now. The weather is still
pretty heavy out there. So we got into
port in San Francisco early. With any scientific
expedition like this, it takes months, if not years, to really process all the data,
and process all the samples. The preliminary results are that
we think there’s a couple of previously unidentified species
of coral and sponge. Who knows? One or two
could be new to science. This mentality, with the
current administration, that we don’t need these
sorts of things, I think it’s even more important
for us to prove, as scientists, that, yes, we do need
these things, and we need to protect them. This project definitely exceeded
our expectations. By going down there, it just really opened up
this world for us. We have a new way to talk about it. We have a new way
to think about it. And we have new things to share with people about the sanctuary. Everybody should care
about the ocean. It provides 50% of the oxygen
that we breathe. It drives our weather.
It affects everybody, really. By studying the deep sea,
we learn more about ourselves, we learn more about our planet, and that’s really
what it’s all about, is trying to understand how
this whole system works.

17 thoughts on “Finding life in the deep sea”

  1. This is what happens when America found out there's harvestable oil.

    Btw that means if there's oil in North Korea, they'll bomb em before they can bomb back

  2. @2:59 so chances are years of reasearch and automation engineering will fail to keep Hercules functioning if the inanimate, voodoo doll tikki is not oiled? 🤔

    Way to go scientific minds.

  3. That big orange POS is trying to destroy everything just to make money and have power. Wow. We need to get RID OF HIM and take care of our planet before we cause irreparable damage. Anyway, beautiful video of such a beautiful, mysterious place 🙂

  4. Thought they gonna protect the deep sea. But they cut and chop em like some tree . Finding life (and kill em so u can find cure for people) in the deep sea.

  5. Great! Cutting edge science using a primitive belief system to help ensure their dives success.

    No contradiction there at allllllllllll!!!

  6. 3:52 Why on earth take the whole organism? Just a branch, that's all you need. That coral was probably well over 100 years old.

    Giving them the benefit of the doubt, perhaps the coral had already broken off its holdfast.

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