Project Pacifikana
#1
A thread to delineate facts about the ocean, and things that can be done with these facts.

https://rwu.pressbooks.pub/webboceanogra...nutrients/

Quote:Comparisons of nutrient and dissolved oxygen profiles between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans reveal some interesting differences (Figure 5.6.3). In general, the Atlantic has more dissolved oxygen but lower nutrient concentrations than the Pacific. Water masses form in the North Atlantic that are very cold and dense, so the water sinks to the bottom. This water will then spend the next thousand years or more moving along the seafloor from the Atlantic, to the Indian, and finally into the Pacific Ocean (see section 9.8). This water is initially oxygen-rich surface water, and as it sinks it brings oxygen to the deep seafloor. As the bottom water moves across the ocean basins, oxygen is removed through respiration and decomposition, and by the time it arrives in the Pacific it has been depleted of much of its oxygen. At the same time, decomposition of sinking organic matter adds nutrients to the deep water as it moves through the oceans, so nutrients accumulate and the Pacific water becomes nutrient-rich. Comparison of the ratios of oxygen to nutrients in the deep water can therefore provide an indication of the age of the water, i.e. how much time has passed since it initially sank from the surface in the North Atlantic. Water with a high oxygen and low nutrient content is relatively young, while older water will have less oxygen but higher nutrient concentrations.

In particular: Currently working on a concept for a "silt-fruit", a kind of buoyant sea-sponge capable of traversing the abyssopelagic, all the way to the epipelagic (not my original idea). The creature would have a soft skeleton, and would have a lifecycle that would take it from the abyssal plains to the surface before spawning and spreading it's eggs to further fertilize deep-sea ooze deposits. Many hurdles in the way of this hypothetical creature- oxygen at more nutritious depths would not be in high concentrations, and non-existent sunlight means some form of chemosynthesis may need to be relied on during the maturation of the "silt-fruit". Uncertain as of yet if "decompression sickness" would affect a creature without lungs, but decompression has been shown to maim and kill other creatures brought up from similar depths.

[Image: https://letstalkscience.ca/sites/default...k=9U0Ac8z_]

"Why?"

A method by which the surface and seabed environs can interact with one another is a key component of unlocking a great deal of "stored energy" in the form of seafloor oozes, potentially greater in scope than the original industrial revolution. I have been trying to find the full diagram of seabed organic deposits, but almost all of the examples I've turned up are substandard. I believe Chud has a much better series of diagrams than I could hope to find.

There is already likely much interaction between the epipelagic and mesopelagic zones- crossing the barrier of the bathypelagic is the tricky component, specifically for surface creatures. "The Bends", or decompression sickness, does not just effect human beings- while ocean animals have some resistances to the sickness, skeletons of sperm whales have been recovered which display pits in their bones.
#2
(02-19-2023, 05:30 PM)rockies Wrote: (not my original idea)

My original idea. Was something of a wild speculation on my part. I'm as-of-yet uncertain whether the homeostatic "napkin-math" would work out for such a creature; that half a billion years of evolution haven't even tentatively plumbed this niche makes me something of a pessimist in this regard. The Most Obvious Problem is that seafloor ooze is made up of chemically "tough" remnants of dead organisms that have had most of their caloric value stripped on the way down, on which a macroscopic creature would almost certainly be unable to sustain itself. Large bacterial and archaeal communities feed on them, but they tend to be inefficient, extremophilic, and low-turnover; not traits conducive to a tube-worm / yeti-crab type symbiosis, especially with a creature that freely moves between ocean layers, disrupting the precise chemical balance such micro-organisms often rely on.

(02-19-2023, 05:30 PM)rockies Wrote: Many hurdles in the way of this hypothetical creature- oxygen at more nutritious depths would not be in high concentrations, and non-existent sunlight means some form of chemosynthesis may need to be relied on during the maturation of the "silt-fruit". Uncertain as of yet if "decompression sickness" would affect a creature without lungs, but decompression has been shown to maim and kill other creatures brought up from similar depths.

For an organism with such high turnover, intense r-selection, and a massive potential caloric base to exploit, one may be able to employ guided natural selection on human time-scales. Make a creature that can descend to the bottom of the continental shelf (200m); set it right next to a slope; and let Mother Nature handle the rest. 

(02-19-2023, 05:30 PM)rockies Wrote: A method by which the surface and seabed environs can interact with one another is a key component of unlocking a great deal of "stored energy" in the form of seafloor oozes, potentially greater in scope than the original industrial revolution.

Consider also: the colossal reserves of natural gas produced by hundreds of millions of years of methanogenic bacterial activity, which solidify into solid "ice" deposits at the specific temperature / depth combinations attained by Arctic ice sheets and continental slopes.


(02-19-2023, 05:30 PM)rockies Wrote: I have been trying to find the full diagram of seabed organic deposits, but almost all of the examples I've turned up are substandard. I believe Chud has a much better series of diagrams than I could hope to find.


Long, shallow, ooze-covered continental slopes would be ideal "runways" for the guided-natural-selection method; unfortunately for you, the entire margin of the Pacific "Ring of Fire" is high-angled due to seismic activity. I have a good feeling about Brazil and the Yucatan Peninsula thoughie.
#3
Quote:I'm as-of-yet uncertain whether the homeostatic "napkin-math" would work out for such a creature; that half a billion years of evolution haven't even tentatively plumbed this niche makes me something of a pessimist in this regard.

Wouldn't you know it; the order Elasipodida in the class Holothuroidea has some examples of "benthypelagic" animals. These might be considered "leaping" cucumbers however, not all of them are filter-feeders, but they exist at great depth, and apparently traverse a large altitude of the water column,

Chemosynthesis might serve some part in "digestion" of these oozes, but trying to find a chemosynthetic pathway that would work away from the vents has been my struggle. Perhaps those methane pockets will prove to be truly useful.
#4
https://youtu.be/KTJn_DBTnrY?t=664


In all seriousness, I love the idea of gentically-engineered biomass-generating creatures, living technology. Reminds me of my favorite sci-fi. This is probably one of the most innovative ideas I've heard in a long time.
#5
shoggoths…
#6
Part of the Plan™, but will have to wait 10 or 15 years.


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