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Deep Sea Diner -

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Researchers have sent bait and an infrared camera to the depths of the ocean to study how deep sea
diners detect their dinner in the darkness. A rarely observed six gill shark is recorded for the
first time at 659m and a Humboldt Squid attacks the free meal with relish.


The oceans cover two thirds of our planet but we know very little about what lives in its shadowy
depths. To see what creatures lurk in the deep waters off Australia scientists from the Queensland
Brain Institute headed to Osprey Reef three hundred and fifty kilometres north east of Cairns. To
capture the deep sea dwellers on film the team, lead by Professor Justin Marshall used a specially
designed piece of kit called Medusa. Hoping a free feed would entice the critters they lashed a
fish head to a bar in the camera's foreground to capture the secrets of this dark alien world
Medusa uses an ultra low light video camera and far red LED lighting invisible to most sea life.

An oil fish is the first potential patron to this deep sea diner, but it shows no interest. Today's
special doesn't tempt this Gem fish either. But it's obviously to the taste of this eel who gnaws
away with gusto. A [indecipherable] cat shark passes by but doesn't take the bait. This rarely seen
six gill shark seems famished as it furiously tries to free its dinner. Six gills have never been
filmed at these depths before.

The hungriest customers are these Humboldt squid who were filmed on a separate expedition to the
Peru Chile Trench. A veracious predator who can reach the size of a man and weigh as much as
forty-five kilograms, the Humboldt's will eat anything they can get their tentacles on. Filmed
beyond the reach of sunlight they're finding this meal entirely by smell. The team is the first to
film this behaviour at this depth without the squid seeing the camera. So when it comes to finding
dinner in the dark, Humboldt's are right on the nose.

Topics: Nature

Reporter: Dr Paul Willis

Producer: Roslyn Lawrence

Researcher: Roslyn Lawrence

Camera: Video Courtesy Prof Justin Marshall, Visual Ecology Lab, Sensory Neurobiology Group
Queensland Brain Institute, University of Queensland, St Lucia,Brisbane

Editor: James Edwards

Craig Anderson

Related Info

Sensory Neurobiology Group