The Mariana trench is the deepest known part of the ocean, far too deep for humans to visit. At the deepest part of the trench the water pressure would be the equivalent of “one person trying to support 50 jumbo jets” according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA).
The survey was conducted using the Hadal-Lander, a vehicle built in Aberdeen Scotland for deep sea research. The vehicle is equipped with a variety of high resolution cameras, scientific instruments and an array of small baited funnel traps used to lure and trap small animals.
The researchers deployed the craft an unprecedented 92 times along the trench at depths ranging from 5000 – 10,600 meters.
At a depth of 8145 meters the team observed a kind of snail fish, 500 meters deeper than any fish has been observed previously.
“This really deep fish did not look like anything we had seen before, nor does it look like anything we know of, it is unbelievably fragile, with large wing-like fins and a head resembling a cartoon dog,” said Dr Alan Jamieson from the University of Aberdeen in a statement.
During the expedition the team also captured images of a ‘supergiant’ amphipod. These extremely large crustacean was originally discovered in traps off of New Zealand in 2012 but has never before been observed in its natural habitat. Video footage collected by the team shows the animal swimming, feeding and fighting off predators. A number of other species were also filmed, setting new depth records for three fish families.