Introduction

This blog is going to look at one of the most extreme deep sea environments and how life started and how it is sustained. The deep sea is thought to be a vast, barren, lifeless desert on the sea floor. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

When thinking about marine ecosystems, it’s easy to think about the tropical coral reefs of shallow waters which holds so much biodiversity and has high productivity. The deep sea offers a different ecosystem and marine life that support densities of animals with biomass as high as that of most productive ecosystems (Fisher et al., 2007), especially around the deep sea hydrothermal vents. These systems are now one of the fastest growing interests in marine science since its discovery in 1977 (Desbruyères, 2001 and Parson et.al., 1995) but the most studied hydrothermal systems are the on the East Pacific Rise and north central Atlantic on the Mid Atlantic Ridge (Van Dover, 2000).

The video below was taken from the Nine ROV on an expedition in 2011 to the Galapagos Rift, it provides a rare view of life thriving at these vent systems.