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Hot meets cold at new deep-sea ecosystem: 'Hydrothermal seep'
Date:3/7/2012

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In addition to tube worms, the team documented deep-sea fish, mussels, clam beds and high densities of crabs.

Because so little is known about the deep ocean, the researchers say it's likely that other hybrid or "mosaic" ecosystems remain undiscovered, possibly with marine life specialized to live in such environments.

"Plenty of surprises are left in the deep sea," said Levin. "There are new species, and almost certainly new ecosystems, hidden in the oceans."

The human presence in Alvin, a submersible, deep-diving research craft was key to the findings.

"The site had been visited by other researchers using remotely-operated vehicles," said Levin, "but it wasn't until human eyes saw shimmering water flowing under a tubeworm 'bush' that we really understood how special Jaco Scar is."


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Contact: Cheryl Dybas
cdybas@nsf.gov
703-292-7734
National Science Foundation
Source:Eurekalert  

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