Last week, NOAA scientists discovered an unknown species in the deep sea. Not far from the Hawaiian Islands, at almost 4,300 meters depth—that’s more than 2-1/2 miles underwater—the unmanned submersible Deep Discoverer, operating from NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer, captured video of a ghostly octopod.
The vast open ocean presents an especially challenging environment for its inhabitants since there is nowhere for them to hide. Yet, nature has found a remarkable way for fish to hide from their predators using camouflage techniques. In a study published in the current issue of Science, researchers from Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute at Florida Atlantic University and collaborators show that fish scales have evolved to not only reflect light, but to also scramble polarization. They identified the tissue structure that fish evolved to do this, which could be an analog to develop new materials to help hide objects in the water.