Eli5 why is marine snow so insanely visible on camera and why is there so much?


According to my google search a lot of this is basically whatever bits fall from the upper ocean, things like pieces of plants and other things that fell. Every deep sea video I see has anywhere from a small amount to a “wow I’m really surprised we can even see the creature they’re filming in this” amount. Why does it appear so well on camera and why does there appear to be so much of it?

In: 0

To produce an image at great depths, you need to illuminate your target with lights. These lights are usually mounted on the same machine that carries the camera. The light bounces off all the sediment and detritus in front of the camera which makes these stand out against the dark background.

Really it’s almost like a cloud of rain. Their is a ton of tiny nanometer size particles of dead seaweed and algae/phytoplankton and stuff near the surface, too small to see with your visible eye. These particles don’t really sink since their are currents in the ocean, they just float around. Over time they bump into each other and clump up and get pulled down by gravity, kind of like water molecules sticking together until they form a droplet of rain that falls out of the sky. There’s so much because I doubt you have a real concept of how much phytoplankton is in the water at the surface – like millions of cells in one milliliter of water, and that probably doubles in less than a day.