Jan. 3, 2012 --
Whole communities of previously unknown species thrive around deep-sea hydrothermal vents off the coast of Antarctica. A team of researchers led by the University of Oxford, University of Southampton and British Antarctic Survey used a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) to film and bring back samples from the depths at two locations.
"What we didn't find is almost as surprising as what we did," said team leader Alex Rogers of Oxford University's Department of Zoology in a press release. "Many animals such as tubeworms, vent mussels, vent crabs, and vent shrimps, found in hydrothermal vents in the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans, simply weren't there."
The Actinostolid anemones and stalked vent barnacles (cf. Vulcanolepas) pictured here clinging to a vent were some of the dominant animals at the more southern location, dubbed E9, at approximately 60 degrees south latitude and 2,400 meters (7,900 feet) deep.
Antarctic Hot Springs Yields Ghostly New Species