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UH professor on deep sea research teamUPDATED 7:26 PM HST Jun 25, 2014Video Transcript
Also new at 6-- Groundbreaking new research takes us to the great unknown ... depths of the ocean rarely explored. A University of Hawaii professor recently took part in an international expedition that sent an unmanned submarine six miles below the ocean's surface. KITV4's Andrew Pereira joins us with some fascinating findings... Andrew? Kenny, Paula... researchers were absolutely amazed at the abundance of life on the ocean bottom. 01-07 43-51 134-145 Researchers used a submarine called Nereus instead of a spaceship, but make no mistake, it boldly went where few have gone before.. JEFFREY DRAZEN: "IT'S DEFINITELY THE LAST FRONTIER ON THE PLANET." UH oceanographer Jeffrey Drazen is among a group of researchers who explored the Kermadec Trench near New Zealand. The trench is 34 degrees Fahrenheit, 750 miles long and more than 6 miles deep. It's also filled with creatures that boggle the mind, from unusual shrimp to hungry eels. However this guy, the snailfish, lives deeper than all others and could tell us a lot about how such creatures adapt. JEFFREY DRAZEN: "SOME OF THESE ANIMALS MAY HAVE COMPOUNDS THAT THEY USE TO DEAL WITH PRESSURE THAT CAN BE VERY IMPORTANT TO INDUSTRIAL OR BIOMEDICAL APPLICATIONS. AND WE NEED TO SORT OF UNDERSTAND HOW THEY FUNCTION AND WHICH COMPOUNDS THEY USE BEFORE WE GET TO THAT STAGE, BUT IF WE NEVER DO THIS, WE'LL NEVER KNOW." But where food is scarce, how do animals survive? Drazen says organic mud-like matter found on the bottom of the trench is key. JEFFREY DRAZEN: "THE TRENCH IS VERY STEEP-SIDED, AND SO THIS STUFF JUST ROLLS DOWN HILL. AND ONCE IT REACHES THE SEA FLOOR, IT'S ENRICHING THE SEDIMENTS THERE." Still, survival is always a struggle. Watch what happens when a free meal is dropped 6 miles down. JEFFREY DRAZEN: "VERY RAPIDLY ALL OF THESE LITTLE SHRIMP LIKE CRUSTACEANS CALLED ANTHROPODS COME-UP OUT OF THE MUD, SWIM IN FROM THE SIDES INTO THE FIELD OF VIEW, AND START FEEDING ON THE BAIT." WE GATHERED A LARGE AMOUNT OF SAMPLES, WE MADE SOME REALLY INTERESTING DISCOVERIES AND WE'LL CONTINUE TO MAKE DISCOVERIES AS WE PROCESS SAMPLES IN THE LABORATORY." ANDREW PEREIRA: "BUT ON DAY 30 OF THE EXPEDITION THE SUBMARINE WAS 10,000 METERS DOWN WHEN SOMETHING WENT WRONG WITH ONE OF THE TWO AIR- FILLED HOUSINGS THAT RESULTED IN THE SUB BEING CRUSHED LIKE A SODA CAN." JEFFREY DRAZEN: "WHEN THAT HAPPENS YOU HAVE AN AIRSPACE GOING FROM ONE ATMOSPHERE TO 1,000 ATMOSPHERES IN A TINY FRACTION OF A SECOND, AND THAT SHOCKWAVE IS LIKE A STICK OF DYNAMITE GOING OFF." Despite the loss of the $8 million sub, researchers say they will be back. JEFFREY DRAZEN: "WE'LL GO AHEAD AND LEARN AS MUCH AS WE CAN WITHOUT THE NEREUS VEHICLE UNTIL WE HAVE ITS REPLACEMENT." One of the new species researchers discovered is a strange coral-like animal with eight arms that has no exo- skeleton. The folks at the UH School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology are saving images of the creature for release at a latter date. Paula, Kenny... back to you. Still ahead close call but "commendable"