University of Hawaii Launches Deep-sea Animal ID Guide

University of Hawaii at Manoa’s Hawaii Undersea Research Laboratory (HURL) has released a deep-sea animal ID guide after the culmination of 30 years of undersea research in manned submersible research vehicles. According to the University, it is one of the few institutions that keeps detailed logs of all videos captured by the submersibles. With all the photo and video that they have collected, scientists at the University of Hawaii have compiled a list of organisms that can be found in the deep-sea that surrounds the Island state of Hawaii.

About University of Hawaii’s Guide

The deep-water photo-guide contains over 1,500 images that came from video still captures, digitized 35mm slides, and pilot camera photos. The guide is a good reference for other researchers who may be preparing for deep-sea dives or even local fisherman who catch unusual species. Included with the pictures that make up the guide is a color coded key to indicate the depth at which the animal in the picture is found; the colors range from red, representing 0-100m deep, and goes to black, representing over 1,000m deep.

Putting the Guide Together

Over the course of 30 years research teams from the University of Hawaii have gone into the field with manned and unmanned underwater vehicles equipped with cameras. Each time they went out, they came back with photos of the interesting sea life that they saw in the deep Pacific Ocean. University of Hawaii Biologist Christopher Kelley has been hard at work compiling the list of animals that had pictures, but no names. Kelley said “Only in situ images are included in the guide in order to show how beautiful and unique the animals are when seen alive and in their natural habitat, HURL simply wants people to appreciate the amazing variety of life forms that exist in deeper waters around Hawai‘i.” One of the exciting things that the guide accomplishes is connecting scientists and taxonomists is easier than ever before, and professionals can provide feedback and/or corrections to the naming of the species directly to the website.

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