Heather Spence, Marine Biologist
Orchestrating Coastal Marine Ecology Investigation and Outreach

Heather Spence, Marine Biologist

Questions about Deep Oceans


i am doing a project for wildlife biology class on ‘deep oceans’, and need to contact a professional, it would be great if you could answer some questions.

– How have creatures adapted to survive the deep oceans?

-What are some recent discoveries in deep oceans? new creatures, etc.

– What technologies have enabled for these discoveries?

-How have these technologies enabled to discover and what advances will be made for the future?

-what things do you hope to discover and learn more about?

-what is it like being a marine biologist?

thank you so much!


Hi Jane, happy to help,

The deep ocean habitat is an extreme one, with very high pressure and very little light. As you probably know, light is a fundamental source of energy and necessary for plants to make food. Animals adapted to these conditions often look very strange, some produce their own light, some have adapted to eat in unusual ways, and their body structures are different in order to withstand the high pressures. We still don’t understand much about deep ocean creatures because these same conditions make them hard to access and study.

Recently, coral reefs have been found in the deep ocean! Cold water corals can be found at depths up to 1,000 meters.

Robots and submersibles, both with people and without, are continually being developed and improved. Videography allows for documentation of species and behavior without having to take the organism out of its habitat (which would cause it to die since conditions at the surface are so very different)

Everything is interconnected, and each habitat is connected to each other habitat. I am particularly interested in the role of sound in marine ecosystems, and an interesting aspect is the role of the deep sound channel in long distance sound travel.

Being a marine biologist is incredibly exciting, you don’t have to go to the deep ocean everywhere you look there is something new to discover. The more I learn the more I want to learn and am constantly in awe of the mysteries of the natural world.

Hope this helps, good luck with your project,


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Two Wrongs Don’t Make A Right

Despite pressures to introduce invasive species ON PURPOSE as a “solution” to environmental problems – scientists and conservation groups are making a clear case for, instead, supporting the natural environment and the native species.

Check out:


And post or send me your comments on this issue

(also discussed in the Stay Tuned Network)

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Coral Reef Acoustics

For some interesting information about research on Acoustics of Coral Reefs ~




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Sustainable seafood?

I’ve been asked, so what SHOULD we be eating? Here’s some of the suggested fish, based on the Smithsonian’s study:

Anchovies, Striped Bass, Bluefish, Channel Catfish, Pacific Cod, Mahi Mahi, Wild Salmon, Tilapia


For more info: http://www.mnh.si.edu/seafood/

The Smithsonian book, One fish, two fish, crawfish, bluefish – Sustainable Seafood Cookbook, by Carole C. Baldwin and Julie H. Mounts (2003) has recipes from many famous chefs. The FDA database at http://vm.cfsan.fda.gov/`frf/sea-mehg.html lists mercury levels. Also, check www.environmentaldefense.org/seafood and www.fishwise.org for more information on seafood that is safe and sustainable.

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