Mariana Trench: Deepest ocean “teems with microbes”..how did they evolve and how did they get there?
The deepest place in the ocean is teeming with microscopic life, a study suggests.
An international team of scientists found that the very bottom of the Mariana Trench, which lies almost 11km (7 miles) down in the Pacific Ocean, had high levels of microbial activity.
The research is published in the journal Nature Geoscience.
The underwater canyon was once thought to be too hostile an environment for life to exist.
But this study adds to a growing body of evidence that a range of creatures can cope with the near-freezing temperatures, immense pressures and complete darkness.
Dr Robert Turnewitsch, one of the authors of the paper from the Scottish Association for Marine Science, said: “The deepest parts of the deep sea are certainly not dead zones.”
In 2010, the scientists sent an unmanned submersible down into the vast underwater canyon, where it collected samples of the murky sediment that cakes the sea floor.
An analysis of the levels of oxygen in the sample revealed the presence of a large number of microbes.
Dr Turnewitsch explained: “These microbes, they respire as we do. And this oxygen consumption is an indirect measurement of the activity of the community.”
Surprisingly, these primitive, single-celled organisms were twice as active at the bottom of the trench than they were at a nearby 6km-deep (four miles) site.
legitimate question i reckon..are they our long lost ancestors?..why haven’t they evolved more and how did they get there?