Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Sediment Traps

 When I go out to the Chatham Rise, I’ll be helping check on the Sediment Traps that Niwa has out there. Sediment Traps are large, funnel- shaped contraptions that collect organic material (like plankton, plant parts, and fish poo!) All this organic matter is called “Marine Snow”. Often many particles stick together to make flakes that can be several cm wide. Being this large, they can sink ‘quickly’ through the water, falling hundreds of metres each day. This “marine snow” can take 20–30 days to reach the ocean floor 2–3 km down. As they sink, they are broken down by animals and bacteria in the cold, dark waters of the deep ocean. Also they provide food for animals at the bottom of the sea (e.g., worms, crabs, starfish).

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