Our Changing World Radio Interview about 'Supergiant' Amphipod

Our Changing World Radio Interview about 'Supergiant' Amphipod

Toyo Fujii, Alan Jamieson (University of Aberdeen) and Ashley Rowden (NIWA) onboard NIWA's research vessel RV Kaharoa, with the supergiant amphipods (image: Oceanlab, University of Aberdeen)

Listen to the programme.


Trouble listening? visit Radio NZ site for alternative formats

A recent expedition to the Kermadec Trench, one of the deepest places on Earth, has returned with a surprise catch of supergiant amphipods.

Amphipods are crustaceans, and many people are familiar with some of the smaller species, for example sand hoppers on the beach. But larger amphipods are also common in the deep sea, occurring in greater numbers the deeper you go. Typically deep-sea amphipods are two to three centimetres long, with the exception of the slightly larger giant amphipods found in Antarctic waters.

Supergiant amphipods can reach lengths of 30cm and more. They were found by scientists from theUniversity of Aberdeen and the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, who led a joint UK/New Zealand expedition to the Kermadec trench, north of New Zealand. Using especially designed ultra-deep submergence technology, the team deployed a camera system and a large, baited trap to depths ranging from 6900 to 9900 metres. The team’s original goals were to recover smaller amphipods and specimens of the deep-sea snailfish, which had not been captured since the early 1950s but had been photographed previously by the team at approximately 7000 metres depth. However, the focus shifted when several supergiant amphipods emerged among hundreds of normal-sized specimens. 

This week, NIWA marine ecologist Ashley Rowden explores how these amphipods could grow so large, and how they survive several kilometres deep in the ocean. Next week, Te Papa Tongarewa fish taxonomist Andrew Stewart introduces the equally unusual deep-sea snailfish.

The front facade of the Supreme Court of the United States in Washington, DC.
ian-hutchinson-U8WfiRpsQ7Y-unsplash.jpg_master

Agenda for America

A collection of resources to help federal, state, and local decision-makers set an achievable agenda for all Americans

Quick View

Data-driven policymaking is not just a tool for finding new solutions for emerging challenges, it makes government more effective and better able to serve the public interest.

Lightbulbs
Lightbulbs

States of Innovation

Data-driven state policy innovations across America

Quick View

Data-driven policymaking is not just a tool for finding new solutions for difficult challenges. When states serve their traditional role as laboratories of innovation, they increase the American people’s confidence that the government they choose—no matter the size—can be effective, responsive, and in the public interest.