Underwater robots reveal the cannibalistic all-you-can-eat-buffet of the deep sea

Date: December 14, 2017

Source: The Verge 

Author: Alessandra Potenza

The deep sea is filled with scaly and gelatinous creatures feasting on each other — and now we have an unprecedented view into this cannibalistic all-you-can-eat buffet.

Researchers at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) have analyzed 30 years’ worth of videos taken by underwater robots off the coast of California, to better understand who’s eating whom in the deep sea. Their findings, recently published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, show that jellyfish are key predators, gobbling up a great variety of other species. One type of jelly for instance, in the genus Solmissus, was observed feasting on at least 22 different types of prey, from krill to worms to other jellyfish. That’s “pretty incredible for something that just looks like a clear dinner plate,” says study co-author Anela Choy, a postdoctoral fellow at MBARI.

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