Environment

Ecosystems of the deep seas

Geetha Iyer

 

The remotely operated vehicle (ROV) Deep Discoverer images a newly discovered hydrothermal vent. Photo: Courtesy of NOAA Ocean Explorer
Ocean layers. Photo: Courtesy of NOAA Ocean Explorer
An octopus at a seep site. Photo: Courtesy of NOAA Ocean Explorer
The autonomous underwater vehicle Sentry. Photo: Courtesy of NOAA Ocean Explorer
Alvin uses one of its manipulator arms to take samples from the sea floor. Alvin is a three-manned American deep-sea submersible fitted with sophisticated equipment. Photo: Courtesy of NOAA Ocean Explorer
A seamount at a depth of 2,465 metres. Photo: Courtesy of NOAA Ocean Explorer
Glass sponges are visible in the foreground of this sponge community found at a depth of about 2,360 m. Photo: Courtesy of NOAA Ocean Explorer
A translucent egg case with a catshark embryo actively swimming inside it. Photo: Courtesy of NOAA Ocean Explorer
A copepod family Aetideidae) laden with eggs. Photo: Courtesy of NOAA Ocean Explorer
The octocoral Iridigorgia with squat lobsters on it, in the north-western Gulf of Mexico. Photo: Courtesy of NOAA Ocean Explorer
The curlicue shape is a characteristic of Iridogorgia. Photo: Courtesy of NOAA Ocean Explorer
A hydrothermal vent chimney. Photo: Courtesy of NOAA Ocean Explorer
A vent emitting droplets of liquid carbon dioxide. Photo: Courtesy of NOAA Ocean Explorer
A seep site with clusters of live Bathymodiolus mussels (left side, foreground, and background). Photo: Courtesy of NOAA Ocean Explorer
An aggregation of Lamellibrachia sp. tubeworms providing a habitat for many smaller animals. Photo: Courtesy of NOAA Ocean Explorer
The giant tubeworm Riftia pachyptila. Photo: Courtesy of NOAA Ocean Explorer
Sea cucumbers (Chiridota heheva) with chemosynthetic Bathymodiolus mussels at a cold seep. Photo: Courtesy of NOAA Ocean Explorer
An aggregation of ice worms inhabiting methane hydrate. These worms eat chemoautotrophic bacteria using chemicals in the hydrate. Photo: Courtesy of NOAA Ocean Explorer
The bone-eating worm Osedax. Photo: Courtesy of Greg Rouse
Methane bubbles flow in small streams out of the sediment on an area of sea floor. Quill worms, anemones and patches of microbial mat can be seen in the periphery. Photo: Courtesy of NOAA Ocean Explorer
Tubeworms associated with seeps. These worms are related to but differ from the giant tubeworms found around hydrothermal vents. Photo: Courtesy of NOAA Ocean Explorer
The site of a whale fall. When a whale dies and sinks to the sea floor, it is feast time for several organisms for several years to come. Photo: Courtesy of Craig Smith, University of Hawaii.
A purple squat lobster with stalked barnacles attached to it. This lobster is a scavenger and is among the first creatures to arrive at the scene of a whale fall. Photo: Courtesy of NOAA Ocean Explorer
A squat lobster perching on an undescribed genus of bamboo coral. This lobster is a scavenger and is among the first creatures to arrive at the scene of a whale fall. Photo: Courtesy of NOAA Ocean Explorer
A coral garden. Like their shallow warm-water cousins, cold-water corals provide a habitat for several deep-sea creatures. Photo: Courtesy of NOAA Ocean Explorer
A deep-sea red crab hangs out on a bubblegum coral. Photo: Courtesy of NOAA Ocean Explorer
A hard rock area with a very high coral diversity on a seamount complex. Photo: Courtesy of NOAA Ocean Explorer
A sea pen (Pennatulacea) on the soft sediment of the sea floor. Photo: Courtesy of NOAA Ocean Explorer
Bright yellow parasitic zoanthids encrusting a glass sponge. Photo: Courtesy of NOAA Ocean Explorer
Sulphide chimneys coated with an iron-based microbial mat at a vent site. Photo: Courtesy of NOAA Ocean Explorer
A yellow bamboo coral. Deep-sea corals obtain their nutrition by trapping tiny organisms that the ocean currents bring to them. Photo: Courtesy of NOAA Ocean Explorer
A sponge covered with hundreds to thousands of tiny anemones also provides a home to several brittlestars (pink), sea lilies (yellow) and a basket star (brown). Photo: Courtesy of NOAA Ocean Explorer
A new species of vent-endemic flatfish. Photo: Courtesy of NOAA Ocean Explorer
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