Questions for ‘Cool Jobs: Science deep beneath the waves’


The seas are full of many wonderful creatures, but scientists have plumbed only a small fraction of the ocean’s depths.

Kelvin Gorospe/NOAA/NMFS/Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center Blog/Flickr (CC-BY 2.0)

To accompany feature “Cool Jobs: Science deep beneath the waves” 


Before Reading

1.  How deep can the ocean get? How do conditions at the bottom of the ocean differ from those near the surface?

2.  Name five types of organisms that live in the ocean. If you could study one, which would you pick and why?

During Reading

1.  What are three challenges that scientists face in studying the deep ocean?

2.  What is a whale fall?

3.  What are at least three organisms that make a living from a dead whale?

4.  Describe how Osedax worms eat whale bones?

5.  Where can the Hadal Zone be found?

6.  Why do organisms that live in one ocean trench differ from those that live in any other trench?

7.  Why do scientists study organisms that live in extreme environments, such as ocean trenches?

8.  What are near-inertial waves and how do they contribute to ocean mixing?

9.  What are some ways that scientists deal with boredom on long ocean cruises?

10.  Why does Kelly Pearson call the deep ocean “one of the last elusive things”?

After Reading:

1.  To study the deep ocean, scientists either send a robot submersible down or ride in a tiny submersible themselves. Which would you choose and why? Where would you send it and what would you seek to learn?

2.  Only a small fraction of the ocean has been studied. Give at least three reasons why that might be. And how might you increase that fraction to more than half?


1.  The Empire State Building in New York City is 443.2 meters (1,454 feet) tall. How many would it take, stacked one atop the other, to reach the deepest point of the Mariana Trench? Show your work.