Metro Bilbao is hosting a photographic exhibition about the most fascinating creatures that inhabit the mesopelagic zone, between 200 and 1,000 metres deep.
The exhibition has been organized by AZTI scientific and technology centre within the framework of the European SUMMER project, financed by the European Union, to increase knowledge about the species of this ecosystem.
Although scientific advances have improved our ocean knowledge, these ecosystems still hide many secrets. One of the least explored area is the mesopelagic zone, also known as the twilight zone, between 200 and 1,000 metres deep.
A photographic exhibition will be on display at Bilbao underground to show the fascinating creatures that live in this inhospitable and difficult-to-access oceanic environment.
Through fifteen images provided by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, metro users will be able to travel through the depths of the ocean and discover some of its best-kept secrets.
The exhibition will be open from today until the end of March in Abando station and will then be on display at other stops on Bilbao’s metro lines.
Climate change regulators
The exhibition is part of the European SUMMER project, an initiative led by AZTI that seeks to generate knowledge about mesopelagic fish, the largest and last wild living resource that humanity has not exploited.
On the one hand, the project aims to establish a protocol to estimate the biomass of these animals in a unified way throughout the world. According to the latest research, there are an estimated 10.000 million tonnes of fish biomass in the mesopelagic zone, which is about 100 times more than the combined catch of all the world’s fisheries. On the other hand, the project is also analysing the possibilities and, above all, the risks involved in its exploitation.
Although they are not considered for direct human consumption, among other reasons because they are very small and fatty fish, they could be used as feed for aquaculture or as a source of bioactive compounds for the nutraceutical and pharmaceutical industry” explains Dr Raúl Prellezo, AZTI’s expert in sustainable fisheries management and SUMMER Project coordinator.
Furthermore, the biodiversity found in the mesopelagic zone is key to maintaining the harmony and proper functioning of the global ecosystem, as they are food for many of the species we eat, such as tuna. But they also play a key role in regulating climate change, as mesopelagic fish come to the surface at night to feed, and return to the depths carrying thousands of tonnes of CO2.
“The vast majority of society has never heard of mesopelagic fish. With this exhibition we aim to raise awareness and highlight the fundamental role of this ecosystem. Because what is not known, is not valued or protected,” says Dr Prellezo.
The SUMMER project has a budget of 6.5 million euros, is financed by the European Union and involves the participation of 22 research centres and international companies.
Are you interested in learning more about life in the deep sea mesopelagic zone? Take a look at our latest video, a small exhibition of the incredible twilight zone!
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