14 March 1999
Kaikoura, New Zealand

The giant squid, Architeuthis, is an animal we know almost nothing about, and an animal reputedly attaining a total length of some 60 feet (although it probably locally does not exceed 40 feet in length). Given we know so little about such a huge magnificent animal, then we really do have to question what we know in general about all life in our deep seas.

Daily deep-sea invertebrate species new to science are delivered to our NIWA (Wellington) museum facilities. Many species are truly exquisite, many are represented in museum collections (world wide) by single specimens only, and many simply are so bizarre that attributing any function to any structure, limb or combination of same, without live animal observations, proves impossible.

Therefore, participation in this submersible-based deep-sea research provides, not just myself, but New Zealanders and the world, the first opportunity to view our previously unknown deep-sea, amazing fauna. It provides also our first insight into the in-situ functioning of species, their position/spatial relationship with their environment, and relationship with the deep-sea species. Without such observation we forever will be faced with the impossible task of reconstructing complex deep-sea environments and species assemblages based on a mixed bag of dead animals retained in commercial and research-oriented deep-sea fisheries nets.

…and I'm also here because it is pretty darn exciting stuff!!


Steve O'Shea

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