A team of researchers attached cameras to a group of Tiger sharks to study the ocean floor, and what they discovered was amazing.
The new study published in the scientific journal Nature Communications details a group of scientists attaching cameras and trackers to the dorsal fins of several Tiger sharks. These sharks then led the researchers to an incredible seabed in the Caribbean. The study explains that the sharks led the researchers to an underwater forest of seagrass that the team believes is approximately 35,000 miles in diameter. The authors behind the study say the discovery is a representation of how little humans know about the ocean.
There isn't much knowledge on seagrass, but scientists do know that underwater forests of it are a prime feeding ground for marine life, while the forests also double as a storage facility for large amounts of carbon. Since underwater forests of seagrass are so vast, and are incredible for storing carbon, researchers believe studying these forests will influence humans' overall fight against climate change and slow its effects. Studying underwater forests of seagrass will allow scientists to understand how the carbon it's storing affects the planet.
"This finding shows how far are we from having explored the oceans, not just in the depths, but even in shallow areas," coauthor Carlos Duarte from the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia.
How come sharks were used to make this discovery? Simple, money, and time. The researchers decided against using human divers or submarines for the aforementioned reasons, as Tiger sharks are already expert divers that are capable of covering large portions of the seabed over a small amount of time.
Seagrass is "probably one of the best allies and assets that we have in terms of naturally trying to mitigate the effects of climate change," Oliver Shipley, a senior research scientist at marine science non-profit Beneath the Waves and a coauthor of the paper.
From the success of this study, the researchers are now looking into other marine life that can be used to explore different parts of the ocean that are yet to be examined.
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