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Abyss Box to keep deep animals

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Posted in Science on 18th Feb, 2012 06:53 PM by APM

Normally when organisms are raised from kilometres below the sea surface, they quickly die because of the huge change in pressure.

 

But scientists have now developed the Abyss Box, which can maintain animals in the extreme environment they need.

 

The vessel, containing deep-sea crab and shrimp, will go on show at the Oceanopolis aquarium in Brest, France.

 

The volume of the box is quite small (16 litres) but researchers believe the technology could eventually be scaled up to house larger animals, such as fish.

 

It is hoped such vessels will enable scientists to study bottom-dwelling creatures over long periods of time - something that is just not possible at the moment.

 

"We want such basic information as the length of life of a deep-sea animal," explained Dr Bruce Shillito, a marine biologist at the Universite Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris.

 

"No-one really knows how long they live, so by keeping them this way we can get that information. Of course, its information in captivity but it's better than no information at all," he told BBC News.

 

Dr Shillito has been discussing the project here at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).



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