Why Are Deep Sea Animals Giant?

Jakarta, CNN Indonesia

The low temperature and lack of oxygen are thought to be the cause of the very large size of animals in the deep sea. The reason is, this condition causes the metabolism of these animals to be very slow.

Animals such as squid, sea spiders, worms, and various other types of animals grow to a fairly large size compared to similar species in the deep sea. This phenomenon is called gigantism.

The colossal squid (Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni) in subantarctic waters is about 14 times longer than the arrow squid (Nototodarus sloanii) that lives in New Zealand.

Collect Scienceabc, the animals have a low metabolism due to the minimal amount of food. As a result, they have to save energy in order to survive.

The animals also do not need to regulate their body temperature so they can use the energy for other processes in the body. That’s what causes their bodies are very large.

Alicia Bitondo, as senior aquarist at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, shares this opinion. Alicia used to research animals in the deep sea.

Launch Live ScienceAlisia believes that food in the deep sea comes from shallower areas. When food supplies are scarce, being a large animal provides significant advantages.

These animals have a more efficient metabolism and are better at storing food. So when large carcasses drift into deeper waters, large predators can consume more and store energy for a longer time.

Cold temperatures in the deep ocean can also trigger gigantism by significantly slowing the animal’s metabolism. Creatures in this ecosystem often grow and mature very slowly, such as the Greenland shark (Somniosus microcephalus).

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The slow-moving Greenland shark can grow to 7.3 meters and weigh up to 1.5 tons, but that growth is spread over a lifespan that spans centuries.

Bitondo said Greenland sharks grow about one centimeter per year and don’t reach sexual maturity until they are about 150 years old.

“It’s partly because of the lack of deep-sea predators that these sharks have been able to live for so long and grow so big,” said Bitudo.

In addition to the deep sea, large animals are also found near Antarctica. These include giant sea slugs, corals, worms, sea spiders, and even giant single-celled organisms in near-surface or shallower seas.

The animals are within a distance that a diver can travel about 9.1 meters.

“Near Antarctica, gigantism occurs closer to the surface. There are giant sea slugs, sponges, worms, sea spiders, and even giant one-celled organisms frozen in shallower water,” said Art Woods, an ecophysiologist who has studies polar gigantism and is a professor at the University of Montana in Missoula.

“Maybe there’s something about Antarctica that makes it possible [spesies raksasa] live closer to the surface,” he added.

While there are several hypotheses about the various factors that could have produced sea giants, no one is sure about the exact mechanisms driving evolutionary changes in body size.

“We would say in biology that nothing is certain,” Woods concluded.

[Gambas:Video CNN]

(can/lth)

[Gambas:Video CNN]


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