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Observations of the deep-sea floor from 202 days of time-lapse photography
Paul, A.Z.; Thorndike, E.M.; Sullivan, L.G.; Heezen, B.C.; Gerard, R.D. (1978). Observations of the deep-sea floor from 202 days of time-lapse photography. Nature (Lond.) 272(5656): 812-814
In: Nature: International Weekly Journal of Science. Nature Publishing Group: London. ISSN 0028-0836, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in Authors 

Keywords
    Biodegradation; Biology; Ocean floor; Photographic equipment; Sediments; Underwater photographs; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Paul, A.Z.
  • Thorndike, E.M.
  • Sullivan, L.G.
  • Heezen, B.C.
  • Gerard, R.D.

Abstract
    For the first long-term observation of the deep sea ocean floor the Bottom Ocean Monitor was developed. It consists of a time-lapse camera system, a photographic nephelometer and a temperature recorder. Using this equipment, time-lapse photographs were taken over a period of 202 days at 4873 m depth in the North Equitorial Pacific Ocean which show evidence of more rapid benthic biological processes and changes in sediment topography than had been previously assumed. A wandering hemichordate shed its mucous cover under the camera which was subsequently broken down in twelve days by bacterial metabolism and meiofaunal activity. This observation is in contrast to the generally accepted view of extremely low rates of metabolism and consumptive decay as being characteristic of the deep sea. A holothurian faecal cast was also seen to be notably degraded during the study, a process formerly thought to take thousands of years. Bioturbation appeared to change the microtopography of much of the 1m2 field of view in a little over six months.

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