This incredible innovation will help the fish in coming out of the twilight zone alive. It is a portable decompression chamber which will help scientists in protecting fish from injury when they are brought to the surface.
There is a strange palace in the depths of the ocean between the sun-filled shallows and the dark depths which has the Sun’s sunlight light it up but only as a twilight. The mesophotic zone in the ocean lies about 200 to 500 feet below the surface. This zone witnessed the downing of some ancient coral reefs. Now, it sings happy songs of life by way of new corals and colourful mystery fish.
This mesophotic zone of the sea though quite dynamic in its existence is often ignored by the scientists. The scientists have often committed the blunder of delving into the depths of the ocean and mainly overlooking this exotic zone. Unfortunately, just as the importance of this slice of the ocean was beginning to be realised by the scientists, its existence is mostly in danger due to climate change.
Inspired by the same concern the talented scientists at the California Academy of Sciences and the Monterey Bay Aquarium came up with this innovative device. This device is a way of safely transporting fish to the surface of the ocean. This portable device aims to shield the fish against the same harmful effects that impact humans when they dive deep into the ocean and return too quickly to the surface.
Though studying footage from remotely operated vehicles is also an option, to truly understand the twilight zones the best help can only be derived from living specimens. Observant divers are the best for the job. Bringing up the fish is more of a physics problem.
For instance, have you ever gone for trekking or mountaineering? If you have, then you will understand that if you take a pack of snacks with you from the bottom of the mountain to its apex, the unopened bag is likely to expand as you ascend higher and higher. Similarly, the divers too have tiny air bubbles in their bodies. Also, the fish have swim bladders. Just like the example of mountaineering, both of these expand as pressure intensifies. Thus, if proper care isn’t taken to decompress along the way to the top slowly, these tiny bubbles can be fatal to the life of the human or the fish alike.
To protect the fish, some scientists poke holes in their bladders to protect them. Scientists at Carolina were sure that they could achieve a less intrusive way to procure fish. For the same purpose, they designed two feet long transparent jars that could comfortably fit into the compressors. Moreover, they aren’t much of a load and can be easily carried by the divers.
Let’s have a look at how these compressors work. The divers ascend with their catch, they insert the jar into the chamber and blow a bubble into it. This ensures that optimum pressure is maintained till the diver reaches the surface. To ensure that no drastic change is introduced, a valve expels the air bubble from the jars gradually over the course of two or three days.
Now, the organisation can boast of hosting eight different undescribed species of fish on the public floor. The people can now see those species which are not available to them in any other part of the world.
The primary aim of this entire back-breaking process was to make people more aware of the mesophotic zone and ensure that those only interested in the depths no longer ignore these areas of the mighty oceans. These areas are often not included in marine protected areas or sanctuaries. The effort brings the concerned community one step closer to realising the dream of an enhanced understanding in people about these understudies aquatic environments. There is a growing need to throw light on these ecosystems, attract people towards them and their needs and also to take the proper actions to preserve them.