Navigation Links
Antarctica's first whale skeleton found with 9 new deep-sea species
Date:3/18/2013

Marine biologists have, for the first time, found a whale skeleton on the ocean floor near Antarctica, giving new insights into life in the sea depths. The discovery was made almost a mile below the surface in an undersea crater and includes the find of at least nine new species of deep-sea organisms thriving on the bones.

The research, involving the University of Southampton, Natural History Museum, British Antarctic Survey, National Oceanography Centre (NOC) and Oxford University, is published today in Deep-Sea Research II: Topical Studies in Oceanography.

"The planet's largest animals are also a part of the ecology of the very deep ocean, providing a rich habitat of food and shelter for deep sea animals for many years after their death," says Diva Amon, lead author of the paper based at University of Southampton Ocean and Earth Science (which is based at NOC) and the Natural History Museum. "Examining the remains of this southern Minke whale gives insight into how nutrients are recycled in the ocean, which may be a globally important process in our oceans."

Worldwide, only six natural whale skeletons have ever been found on the seafloor. Scientists have previously studied whale carcasses, known as a 'whale fall', by sinking bones and whole carcasses. Despite large populations of whales in the Antarctic, whale falls have not been studied in this region until now.

"At the moment, the only way to find a whale fall is to navigate right over one with an underwater vehicle," says co-author Dr Jon Copley of University of Southampton Ocean and Earth Science. Exploring an undersea crater near the South Sandwich Islands gave scientists just that chance encounter. "We were just finishing a dive with the UK's remotely operated vehicle, Isis, when we glimpsed a row of pale-coloured blocks in the distance, which turned out to be whale vertebrae on the seabed," continues Dr Copley.

When a whale dies and sinks to the ocean floor, scavengers quickly strip its flesh. Over time, other organisms then colonise the skeleton and gradually use up its remaining nutrients. Bacteria break down the fats stored in whale bones, for example, and in turn provide food for other marine life. Other animals commonly known as zombie worms can also digest whale bone.

"One of the great remaining mysteries of deep ocean biology is how these tiny invertebrates can spread between the isolated habitats these whale carcasses provide on the seafloor," says co-author Dr Adrian Glover at the Natural History Museum. 'Our discovery fills important gaps in this knowledge.'

The team surveyed the whale skeleton using high-definition cameras to examine the deep-sea animals living on the bones and collected samples to analyse ashore. Researchers think that the skeleton may have been on the seafloor for several decades. Samples also revealed several new species of deep-sea creatures thriving on the whale's remains, including a 'bone-eating zombie worm' known as Osedax burrowing into the bones and a new species of isopod crustacean, similar to woodlice, crawling over the skeleton. There were also limpets identical to those living at nearby deep-sea volcanic vents.


'/>"/>

Contact: Catherine Beswick
catherine.beswick@noc.ac.uk
44-238-059-8490
National Oceanography Centre, Southampton (UK)
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Kessler Foundation implements Ekso Bionics first commercial robotic exoskeleton
2. Research reveals first evidence of hunting by prehistoric Ohioans
3. First model of how buds grow into leaves
4. American College of Rheumatology releases first classification criteria for polymyalagia rheumatica
5. Ottawa researchers to lead world-first clinical trial of stem cell therapy for septic shock
6. First complete full genetic map of promising energy crop
7. FirstMark Announces New Hire Jay Houtman as Southeast Regional Sales Manager
8. FirstMark Exhibiting at the Inaugural Atlanta Clinical Cardiology Update
9. New technology tracks sparrow migration for first time from California to Alaska
10. First mass extinction linked to marine anoxia
11. Scientists complete first-ever emperor penguin count from space
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Antarctica's first whale skeleton found with 9 new deep-sea species
(Date:5/16/2017)... TEANECK, N.J. , May 16, 2017  Veratad ... leading provider of online age and identity verification solutions, ... the K(NO)W Identity Conference 2017, May 15 thru May ... Ronald Regan Building and International Trade Center. ... across the globe and in today,s quickly evolving digital ...
(Date:4/18/2017)... , April 18, 2017  Socionext Inc., a global expert in ... media edge server, the M820, which features the company,s hybrid codec ... provided by Tera Probe, Inc., will be showcased during the upcoming ... NAB show at the Las Vegas Convention ... Click ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... Apr. 11, 2017 Research and Markets has ... report to their offering. ... The global eye tracking market to grow at a CAGR of ... Eye Tracking Market 2017-2021, has been prepared based on an in-depth ... market landscape and its growth prospects over the coming years. The ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:8/16/2017)... OXFORD, England , Aug. 16, 2017  Kingfisher ... executive search and leadership development, and Virdis Group, global executive ... an exclusive alliance that enables clients to leverage the expertise ... "For our clients here in the Boston ... a diverse population of leadership talent throughout the US, ...
(Date:8/15/2017)... ... August 15, 2017 , ... Nanomedical Diagnostics ... biotherapeutics development, announces the launch of the new NHS Agile biosensor chip ... binding data for a wide range of molecules, including small and large molecules, ...
(Date:8/15/2017)... Kenosha, Wisconsin (PRWEB) , ... August 15, 2017 ... ... introduced a new family of 6” modular downlights designed to stay tightly sealed ... applications, including areas where damp and wet location listings just aren't enough, such ...
(Date:8/15/2017)... Allentown, PA (PRWEB) , ... August 15, 2017 ... ... and encrypted shopping cart. Now mobile responsive, the new website makes it ... lab or anywhere in between. Users can now find detailed product information, educational ...
Breaking Biology Technology: