Marine scientist and blogger Dr. Andrew Thaler treated members of Rotary Club of Saipan to a presentation on the biology of the famed Marianas Trench.
“I’m here with Angelo Villagomez and Rick MacPherson and we’re just traveling around to discuss a lot of the science that is going on in the Marianas Trench, a lot of the biodiversity out there, and exciting things going on around the Northern Mariana Islands,” he said at the group’s weekly meeting on Tuesday at the Hyatt Regency Saipan.
Thaler has enabled local enthusiasts to navigate a miniature replica of a deep-sea device used to explore trenches in the ocean. He also educates people on information found in the Marianas Trench as well as its significance. He will be leaving next week to do the same on Tinian and Rota.
“The deep ocean is a big unknown. It is out of sight, it’s out of mind. We don’t actually have the tools to get into the bottom of the trench. We had four vehicles in the last 80 years go to the bottom; none of them are available today. One is retired and others were lost in a variety of ways. So half of the Marianas Trench is beyond access to human technology,” Thaler said.
The Marianas Trench is the deepest part of the world’s ocean and is located in the Western Pacific. At its deepest point, it is about 11,000 meters deep.
“If you take Mt. Everest and you drop it in the Marianas Trench, there will still be three kilometers of water on top of it,” Thaler said.
“I look at how biological communities are connected across the Western Pacific Ocean and how human impacts can affect them as well as how resilient the communities are to human interactions,” he said when asked to describe what he does.
“There are several who even work on direct human beneficial type of studies. One example is there was a giant anthropoid discovered in the Trench about four years ago that secretes a chemical compound that can be a possible treatment for Alzheimer’s disease,” he added.