“Tiny Mining”, a Solar Car, and Midnight Creatures Of The Vertical Migration

My weekly Linkfest, with the finest reading on the Internet

Clive Thompson

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Octpuses from Linda Ianniello and Susan Mears’ Blackwater Creatures

Friday!

The week’s nearly over.

No need to work any more.

I found you oodles of fantastic reading in this Linkfest, so you can end out the week with some brain food.

Let’s begin …

1) 🦑 The eerie glory of nighttime deep-sea marine life

Scientific American has a fascinating story about the nightly “vertical migration” of deep-sea creatures — and some amazing photographs of them.

Basically, every night a ton of deeper-sea animals rise up from below to feed on plankton that are in the upper levels of the ocean. Linda Ianniello and Susan Mears started doing night-time photography to capture the vertical migration, and have published them in the book Blackwater Creatures.

The photos — several of which appear in that Scientific American piece — are truly stunning. Ianniello and Mears dive down to 60 feet and use a bright spotlight to illuminate small patches of water; many of these creatures are quite tiny. (Those octopuses above are only the size of a thumbnail.)

Their photography is also scientifically important, because …

Vertical migration in the oceans is thought to play a crucial role in sequestering atmospheric carbon dioxide in the deep sea. The migrating animals feed on photosynthetic phytoplankton nearer the surface, which have absorbed atmospheric carbon dioxide. The creatures then return to the deep pelagic zone, where they deposit that organic, carbon-rich material as waste. Despite this crucial service, relatively little is known about these creatures. Simultaneously their habitat and life cycle are being affected by warming seas and underwater drilling activities. So a glimpse of them in their natural habitat is a major advancement toward understanding these mysterious yet ubiquitous animals.

I’m ordering a copy of Blackwater Creatures now.

(Thanks to Harry Allen for pointing this one out to me!)

2) 🚁 How to keep a drone…

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Clive Thompson

I write 2X a week on tech, science, culture — and how those collide. Writer at NYT mag/Wired; author, “Coders”. @clive@saturation.social clive@clivethompson.net