Earth’s oceans, both warm and cold, are teeming with unexpected sources of life. Whether supported by a Pacific hydrothermal vent or deep beneath the frigid Weddell Sea. The latest discovery is from researchers aboard a research vessel of the Schmidt Ocean Institute.
The Pacific hydrothermal vent and ecosystem was discovered in the vicinity of an otherwise well-studied undersea volcano off the coast of Central America.
According to Schmidt:
“Using an underwater robot, the science team overturned chunks of volcanic crust, discovering cave systems teeming with worms, snails, and chemosynthetic bacteria living in 75 degrees Fahrenheit (25 degrees Celsius) water. The discovery adds a new dimension to hydrothermal vents, showing that their habitats exist both above and below the seafloor. Scientists have spent the past 46 years studying hydrothermal vents and microbial life in the subsurface, but have never looked for animals under these volcanic hot springs.
” The landmark 30-day expedition aboard Schmidt Ocean Institute’s research vessel Falkor (too) was led by Dr. Monika Bright, University of Vienna, along with an international science team from the United States, Germany, the Netherlands, France, Costa Rica, and Slovenia.”
Meanwhile, in Antarctica, scientists are finding more and more evidence that life persists even in the coldest of waters. The discoveries began after researchers found the world’s largest ice fish hatchery in the Weddell Sea. The hatchery covered more than 90 square miles.
In other parts of the ocean life teems below the surface as well. An example is the newly found ecosystem close to the wreck of the Titanic,
which sank in April, 1912. That ecosystem is close to a volcanic vent which in turn is close to the wreck.