Thursday, 29 August 2013

Into the Twilight Zone: Some cutting edge exploratory science!

By Ryan Pearson
As I believe I've made abundantly clear already, I'm a scientist, and I'm particularly fascinated with the marine world. For the past few months I have been focusing my research efforts into some of the deeper water rocky reefs offshore from the Gold Coast, QLD, Australia. Using baited remote underwater video (BRUV) sampling techniques, I've been looking particularly closely at the number and types of scavenging species that occur at these reefs between depths of approximately 30m-85m. This zone in scientific terms is called the mesophotic zone which roughly translated into plain english means 'middle light'. That means there is some light available, but it is at much lower intensities than in shallow waters or at the surface. Combine this intermediate light phenomena with the Gold Coast's location firmly in the sub-tropics and we get to see some very interesting dynamics between tropical and temperate fish species from both shallow and very deep water.