MOSS LANDING, Calif. -
Thanks to some research that took nearly 30 years... we now have a better idea of what the deep sea creatures in the Monterey Bay are eating.
When it comes to magic and wonder… the Monterey Bay has it all.
But when it comes to the science behind it, there is still plenty to be discovered about the seafood we eat.
Steven Haddok, senior scientist at MBARI says, “...the way that the fish end up on your dinner plate actually grow up is not really clear. Like what is it that they are eating throughout their life.”
This question spun into a 27 year project by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research
Institute to find out ‘who is eating who’ in the Monterey Bay.
One of the scientists, Steven Haddock, describes something unusual they discovered.
“Most people can imagine a squid capturing a fish and eating it and we certainly did see a lot of that. But, probably don’t expect you know an octopus eating a jellyfish or vice versa”, “that to me was one of the more surprising things, just to see all the ways these organisms are connected to each other”
The traditional thought on the so-called "food web" was that algae is eaten by shrimp which is then eaten by fish and finally eaten by a jellyfish.
Steven says, “and people sometimes think of those as a dead end in the ecosystem.. If it gets eaten by a jelly then that's basically energy that is lost to the rest of the organisms. But actually those jellies are eaten by a whole bunch of other kind of jellies and even eaten by fish.. Forming an important connection in the whole food web.”
Zach McIntyre, “this is the remotely operated vehicle named ventana which has been used on this project for nearly 30 years. As you can see it's currently undergoing some maintenance and repairs but, these rov’s are what capture the video which has been used on this project.
Steve says, “its connected to the surface by a really long cable and through that cable those high voltage and fiber optic connections so we can have high definition videos looking at the organisms down their while we are flying it around almost like a video game”, “and if we see an interesting animal we can actually fly up to it and observe it.”
The project is over...but scientists are still sorting through the 27 years of amazing footage making other discoveries.