According to Huffington Post, marine biologists have uncovered a previously unknown octopus nursery almost two miles below the Pacific Ocean’s surface off the coast of Costa Rica. According to the researchers, who were also quoted by the site, “this remarkable discovery has the potential to contribute to enhanced protection measures for the surrounding area.” A group of 20 scientists went on a three-week excursion and discovered a dark spot early this month.
An executive director at the Schmidt Ocean Institute, Dr. Jyotika Virmani, described the significance of the discovery in a statement posted on the organization’s website. She said, “The discovery of a new active octopus nursery over 2,800 metres beneath the sea surface in Costa Rican waters proves there is still so much to learn about our ocean.” The research vessel Falkor, owned by the institute, served as the starting point for the worldwide team of scientists’ ocean trip.
The Huffington Post said that during their expedition, the scientists investigated the Dorado Outcrop, a rock structure where, in 2013, octopus mothers were seen gathering to brood their eggs – a phenomena never before seen by researchers. The viability of the nursery wasn’t evident at the time, though.
According to Gizmodo, deep-sea octopuses prefer chilly temperatures, yet the outcrop’s proximity to a hydrothermal vent results in warmer waters than the surroundings.
Dr Jorge Cortes Nunez, a biology professor at the Universidad de Costa Rica, expressed the awe-inspiring nature of the deep sea, stating, “For the majority of people, the ocean is just another body of water. They can’t imagine what’s there. The seafloor is 3 kilometres below us, and what we are seeing is a whole other world down there.”