May 1 to 16 is Science Odyssey, a celebration of all things science! OWLconnected is recognizing this two-week event with lots of science content, as well as with an amazing contest, presented by our friends at the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). Details are at the end of this post—be sure to enter!
And while we're talking about odysseys, let's take a journey together to ... the bottom of the sea! No question, the ocean is a mysterious place. Even in 2021, scientists know little of what lurks in its depths.
We do know one thing for sure—that even the deepest and darkest parts of the ocean are home to lots of incredible undersea life. Including one of the coolest (and freakiest) fish ever: the deep sea anglerfish!
Meet The Fish that Goes Fishing
These deep sea predators live about 900 metres (3,000 feet) beneath the ocean’s surface, far away from the warm and sunlit waters. They can be easily recognized by their cartoonishly big mouths and needle-like teeth. But the anglerfish is best known for one amazing hunting feature—a built-in fishing rod on their foreheads!
By wiggling their glowing lure, the anglerfish mimics small prey to trick other fish. Once an unsuspecting fish takes the 'bait,' the anglerfish opens its mouth wide enough to swallow them whole.
Living in The Deep
This amazing video taken by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in California shows the fish in its natural habitat. Check it out:
While we’ve known about the anglerfish for hundreds of years, only recently have we developed the technology to dive deep enough to capture them on camera. Instead of examining dead fish that wash up on shore, we can now observe their behaviours up close. Exciting!
Out of Sight, Out of Danger?
The intense pressure and frigid water of their habitat makes it unlikely that a deep sea anglerfish will ever meet face-to-face with a person. However, they are not immune to human activities. Over-fishing, pollution, and deep sea mining all pose a threat to their fragile habitat. Climate change can effect them, too, as expanding low-oxygen zones in the ocean could wipe out key organisms in their food chains.
As Dr. Robison of the Monterey Bay Aquarium team notes in the video, the ocean is filled with surprises and wonderful creatures. There is so much still to learn and explore in the deep sea!
Don't forget to enter the Science Odyssey Contest! Click HERE TO ENTER.