By Kelly Strzepek

It’s a rather over-used statement, but it is true: we know more about the surface of Mars than we do about the far reaches of our oceans. There is so much to learn about the deep ocean; from it’s role in the cycling of nutrients, and perhaps more topically, to it’s ability to sequester carbon dioxide. But also, we understand very little about the life forms that survive, and thrive, in the deep, dark seemingly inhospitable regions of the earth’s oceans. In Nature’s Scientific Reports, an article was recently published describing the extraodrinarily high biomass that has been discovered at depths of 2-2.5 KMS (!) on the seamounts off southern Tasmania.

The observations were made using a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) and highlight the lack of information on the extent, and functioning of our deep-sea communities. It is by far the highest peak in biomass found outside of vent communities, and it is right in our backyard. The energy source to the teeming life is yet to be fully determined, but radiocarbon measurements performed here at RSES indicate that the food source, atleast in part, comes from the surface ocean.  

What are they doing down there! Someone should do a PhD on this……

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