Deep open ocean 'most under-explored area of the sea'

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Washington, August 3 (ANI): New research from the University of Sheffield has discovered that the deep open ocean is the most under-explored area of the sea.

The study points out that most of our knowledge of marine biodiversity comes from the shallow waters or the ocean floor, rather than the deep pelagic ocean- the water column deeper than the sunlit surface waters but above the sea bed.

Dr Tom Webb, a Royal Society Research Fellow and marine ecologist used data from Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS) to plot the position in the water of seven million records of marine species.

Charles Wyville Thomson, leader of the challenger Expedition in the 1870s believed that life in the deep water was confined primarily to a belt at the surface and one near the seabed, and believed the area in the middle to be almost completely without larger animals.

The new study has revealed that this is not the case, and the deep pelagic is actually teeming with life.

"On a more positive note, being able to highlight gaps in our knowledge is an important step towards filling them," said Webb.

"Now we know how to do this, but just need commitment to continue our exploration for the rest of the planet," added Dr Ron O'Dor, Senior Scientist with the Census of Marine Life.

The research is published today (2 August 2010) in the journal PLoS ONE. (ANI)

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