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Researchers Create the First Digital Map of the Seafloor
International, 8/13/2015

A group of scientists from the School of Geosciences at the University of Sydney made a publication in the journal Geologyun of a digital map of the ocean floor, which will help researchers understand how the oceans have responded and respond to environmental changes.

It is the first time a digital mapping of the composition of the seabed is made, which covers 70% of the surface of the Earth. They compared 15,000 samples from research vessels and have developed an unprecedented impression in the world with stunning detail. The most recent map was drawn by hand in the 1970’s.

According to Adriana Dutkiewicz, the lead researcher of the University of Sydney, to understand environmental changes in the oceans we need to understand what is best preserved in the geological record on the seabed.

The work reveals the deep ocean basins appear to be much more complex than previously thought. Dutkiewicz says that the deep ocean is a cemetery largely formed by the remains of microscopic marine creatures called phytoplankton, which thrive in shallow sunlit waters.

The composition of these residues can help sort out how the oceans have responded in the past with climate change.

The new geology map of the seabed shows that the accumulation of these diatoms in the depths is almost completely independent of the blooms in surface waters in the Austral Ocean.

According to the explanation of Dietmar Muller, co-author of the study and professor at the University of Sydney, this disconnects shows that we understand the carbon source, but not its decline, and more research is needed to better understand this relationship.

Dutkiewicz noted that the research opens the door to future travel marine research aimed at a better understanding of the workings and history of the marine carbon cycle and it is urgent to understand how the ocean responds to climate change.


Topic(s):    Soil and water