A team of specialists recently completed an old-style ‘voyage of discovery’ on the RV Investigator, sampling animals living in the abyssal depths off the continental shelf on the east coast of Australia. Very little is known about the fauna from these depths (2500–4000m) and what is known is based on very old, patchy records from surveys a century ago. Dr Kirrily Moore, TMAG Collection Manager (Invertebrate Zoology), was one of the expeditioners, and she described her talk, Sampling the Abyss, as ‘a festival of weird fish, taxonomists, blogs and mud’:
‘We experienced the highs of successful collection of samples from un-described species and very rarely collected species, viewing footage of live animals is an extreme environment and linking with live schools and researchers to spread news of our discoveries as they happened. We also experienced the lows of broken and lost gear, 2 am start times, bad weather and a LOT of mud!’
Further links: the blog website https://www.nespmarine.edu.au/abyss-landing-page
Tim’s summary of the voyage at https://theconversation.com/sludge-snags-and-surreal-animals-life-aboard-a-voyage-to-study-the-abyss-79924
The priapulid worms got a good run on US late night comedy shows, for example https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VPgVtWDljcU
More event photos in the website photo album.