WATCH: New England-based researchers share rare video from ocean’s ‘Twilight Zone’

Hundreds of feet below the ocean surface, where the sun no longer shines, a team of New England-based researchers is shining a light on the alien life of “The Twilight Zone.”

The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution’s remote Mesobot recently captured rare views of the deep sea life at the Geologist Seamounts near Hawaii.

Ocean creatures like Hatchet fish, whitetip sharks and swordfish can be seen drifting out of the dense gloom in video shared by the WHOI.

The Mesobot is currently aboard the Ocean Exploration Trust ship Nautilus alongside researchers from the OET, WHOI, the University of New Hampshire and the University of Rhode Island.

The researchers use sonar data to locate dense patches of marine life that migrate to the depths during the day.

“These twilight zone organisms make up the largest animal migration on Earth and help the ocean regulate global climate by moving carbon from surface waters to the deep ocean where it can remain sequestered from the atmosphere for centuries or millennia,” said the WHOI.

The WHOI says the following organisms can be seen in the video above:

Time (Minutes, Seconds)
00:19Siphonophore coming up from the bottom of the screen (orange tentacles visible), likely Nanomia (specific type of siphonophore)
00:25Siphonophore coming into focus in the middle of the screen. As they approach the orange within the body becomes visible. Specific type unavailable.
00:29 - 00:49Salp chain with individuals salps swimming around. Likely Salpa aspera, which is a migrating salp. Krill also visible darting through
00:52Oceanic whitetip shark, with pilot fish swimming under it. These are fairly rare and are found in the open ocean. Not a lot of footage exists of these sharks.
01:00 - 01:11More individual salps and a salp chain–it is common to see both of these life stages at one time.
00:14Long thin swimming creature in the center of the screen is likely a leptocephalus larvae or eel larvae
01:16Corkscrew swimming creature in top left is a siphonophore (not close enough to ID)
01:24More individual salps
01:36Salp chain appears from the bottom left corner
01:57Another salp chain, likely not Ssalpa aspera, but difficult to confirm.
02:08Another salp chain, apparently the same as the previous clip, likely not Salpa aspera
02:16Pearl side (Maurolicus)--same family as hatchetfish
2:20-24Fish (ID uncertain)
02:25Siphonophore in visible left
02;32Broadbill swordfish (Xiphias gladius)
02:36Ink cloud from passing squid

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