Creatures of the Deep: In Search of the Sea's Monsters and the World They Live In
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Praise for the first edition:
"More than a picture book ... Hoyt's elegant writing provides both the historical background for deep-sea exploration and an ecological perspective on life in the ocean's depths."
-- American Scientist
"A magnificent bestiary ... and a reminder of how little we actually know about the seas surrounding us."
-- Popular Science
Winner, Outstanding Nonfiction Book of the Year
-- American Society of Journalists and Authors, Inc., New York
In this updated and expanded edition of Creatures of the Deep, award-winning nature and science writer Erich Hoyt gives readers a glimpse of the amazing variety of creatures found in the deepest parts of the ocean. Weaving together details from the latest scientific research about sharks, giant squid, dragonfish, huge tube worms, clams and tiny microbes of the deep-sea vents, Hoyt embarks on a magical journey roaming across the abyssal plains and descending into deep-sea trenches more than 20,000 feet down.
Hoyt unravels the complex predator-prey relationships, from "killer" copepods to battles between giant squid and sperm whales, presenting compelling portraits of animals that are superbly adapted denizens of a dark high-pressure world. There are life forms, independent of sunlight and photosynthesis, which flourish around the hot, sulfurous deep-sea vents in the magnificent rift valley of the mid-ocean ridge, the world's longest mountain range. Surviving in conditions that appear to be close to the very soup of primordial Earth, these microbes have become the basis for the latest research into Earth's origins. Fully illustrated with fantastic underwater imagery.
mesopelagic zone; only their record depths extend to the topmost part of the bathypelagic zone. Yet much depends on where their prey travels. As exceptional as their breath-holding and deep-diving exploits are, whales are using “only” the top 27 percent of the ocean, nowhere near the deepest trenches. Still, compared with human divers, whales are capable of extraordinary feats. Northern elephant seals were the first to beat the sperm whale dive records. Research has shown that these animals can
longevity of no more than five years exceeds some other squid species but seems brief relative to a whale’s 50- to 200-year life span. A whale might produce only one calf every two to five years over a few decades, depending on the species. During its short life, the giant squid may be extraordinarily fruitful, producing thousands of offspring, as do other squid. Gigantism affects only certain species at this depth. Most invertebrates in the deep are smaller than their shallow-sea counterparts.
an ever-tightening vise of the most intense pressure ever experienced by a human craft, the Trieste took nearly five hours to reach the bottom. At 32,400 feet (9,875 m), Piccard and Walsh heard a strong, muffled explosion and thought they might have hit bottom or, worse, the steep walls of the trench. The Trieste shuddered, and Piccard, if not Walsh, wondered briefly whether a terrible implosion was imminent. But nothing happened, and they continued their descent. Finally, the 150-ton (136,000
white shark, small compared with the maximum length of 20 feet (6 m) known for the species in this area but well equipped with some 3,000 razor-sharp teeth arranged in several rows that rotate toward the front of its mouth as the front teeth break off. In the opposite corner, at 15 to 17 feet (4.5–5 m), we have a female killer whale, or orca, looking smart and sleek but hardly menacing. She rarely opens her mouth, but when she does, she reveals up to 48 interlocking banana-sized teeth. On
of this life-form beginning with his work in 1977 and culminating in a proposal in 1990 for a new classification scheme for all of life. Archaeans are perhaps unassuming monsters, but scientists now mostly agree that they are a distinct lineage of life on Earth. Humans last recognized a totally new branch of life in the 19th and early-20th centuries, when the conventional division of living organisms into animals or plants began to expand to three, four and, finally, five kingdoms to