Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • You're traveling deep beneath the ocean's surface,

  • where faint lights flicker and toothy grins flash.

  • You are now entering... the Twilight Zone.

  • Your mission is to survive these depths

  • and journey to the surface after sundown to feed.

  • You may now pick your player.

  • Just kiddingyou don't have a choice.

  • You're a hatchetfish.

  • And almost everything else is trying to eat you.

  • The tools at your disposal are a uniquely shaped body,

  • shiny scales, and glowing spots on your belly.

  • You're going to need a lot of skill and a little luck.

  • Your first challenge is to begin your upwards trek.

  • Your swim bladder allows you to precisely control your buoyancy.

  • Come nightfall, you slowly fill it up,

  • becoming less dense and rising towards the surface.

  • You can't swim fast, but your narrow build makes you maneuverable.

  • This is especially important since predators could spring out of the darkness

  • at any moment.

  • In fact, a fangtooth is gliding beneath you.

  • It has the ocean's biggest tooth-to-body size ratio.

  • Food is hard to come by in the Twilight Zone,

  • so predators have fearsome adaptations to make every attack count.

  • The fangtooth's skin is ultra-black:

  • it reflects less than 0.5% of the light that hits it,

  • making this fish particularly hard to spot.

  • Fortunately, the bioluminescent organs lining your belly are regulated

  • to match the intensity and pattern of the faint light from the ocean's surface.

  • This counter-illumination disguises your silhouette.

  • So when the fangtooth gazes upwards, you're almost invisible.

  • A bright spot appears in the distance.

  • You go to check it out, but something's looming in the darkness.

  • The light is a bioluminescent lure belonging to an anglerfish.

  • You dart away before it quickly opens its jaws,

  • sucking in a hapless fish that got too close.

  • Another narrow escape, but you're nearly there.

  • Although more than 90% of deep-sea creatures are bioluminescent,

  • only one group produces the color red: dragonfishes.

  • One of them is near.

  • Because red light is quickly absorbed by seawater,

  • most deep-sea inhabitants can't see it.

  • The dragonfish emits red light from organs by its eyes,

  • using an invisible headlight to locate unsuspecting prey

  • that its scoops into its cavernous jaw.

  • You can't see your enemy,

  • but your silvery, mirror-like scales scatter and soften direct light,

  • keeping you hidden.

  • After three close calls, you reach... the Photic Zone.

  • You've just participated in the world's largest migration.

  • It takes place every night as trillions of organisms rise from the ocean's depths

  • to enjoy the surface's rich resources under the cover of darkness.

  • The payoff is huge.

  • Here, your light-sensitive eyes take in a buffet of small crustaceans

  • and gelatinous zooplankton.

  • During the day, phytoplankton use sunlight to turn dissolved carbon dioxide

  • into energy and build their own cells.

  • They become food for small grazers, forming the base of the food web,

  • which extends back down to the Twilight Zoneand beyond.

  • Organic matter generated up herelike bits of skin, poop, and dead animals

  • eventually sinks or is transported in the stomachs of animals

  • returning from their nightly migrations.

  • These materials then feed the creatures below that don't migrate.

  • This ensures that some of the carbon from the atmosphere

  • is locked away in the ocean for hundreds of years to come.

  • That's why this process is known as the biological carbon pump.

  • Without it, there'd be much more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere,

  • where it contributes to climate change.

  • Your avatar, the hatchetfish, is part of this crucial process.

  • Your first quest is complete,

  • but you must repeat this journey every night for the rest of your life.

  • As the sun rises, the surface becomes dangerous,

  • and you descend back into the shadows of the Twilight Zone.

You're traveling deep beneath the ocean's surface,

Subtitles and vocabulary

Operation of videos Adjust the video here to display the subtitles

B1 US TED-Ed twilight zone twilight zone surface ocean

Could you survive the real Twilight Zone? - Philip Renaud and Kenneth Kostel

  • 13 0
    OolongCha posted on 2021/06/04
Video vocabulary