In the center of the South Pacific there is a section – the South Pacific Gyre (SPG) – which is considered practically lifeless in terms of marine biology. The story of this place tells ScienceAlert.
The South Pacific gyre is one of the five gigantic systems of flow in the World Ocean, where huge masses of water go in a circle, it is extremely difficult to contact with other water masses due to the pressure and temperature of the water.
This area, where the space cemetery is located – exactly the waste satellites and space stations fall – with a total area of 37 million km, which is extremely far from land. It is the geographical position of this area that leads to the fact that there is almost no nutrient, and the levels of ultraviolet in this part are much higher.
During the new six-week expedition on the German research vessel FS Sonne from December 2015 to January 2016, the crew, led by the team of the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, traveled 7,000 km via SPG from Chile to New Zealand.
On the way, scientists collected various microbial populations at this site at a depth of 20 to 5 thousand meters. The analysis of microorganisms was carried out using a new system that allowed researchers to streamline and identify organic samples on the way in just 35 hours.
To our surprise, we found about a third fewer cells in the surface waters of the South Pacific compared with the ocean gyres in the Atlantic. This is probably the lowest number of cells ever found in the surface waters of the ocean.
Microbic ecologist Bernhard Fuchs
One of the identified populations, called AEGEAN-169, was particularly numerous in the surface waters of the SPG, whereas previous studies found them only at a depth of 500 m.
Scientists note that this region has its own plus – because of the nature of the currents and the distance from the land, there is absolutely no garbage in the SPG.