News / Science & Technology

    Unique Species of Shrimp, Anemones Thrive Near Caribbean Seafloor Vents

    British scientists say world's deepest volcanic vents - discovered in 2010 in a canyon on the Caribbean seafloor - have much marine life, including new species of shrimp and snails.
    British scientists say world's deepest volcanic vents - discovered in 2010 in a canyon on the Caribbean seafloor - have much marine life, including new species of shrimp and snails.
    Zulima Palacio

    A team of British scientists has published new details of the world’s deepest volcanic vents, discovered in 2010 in a canyon on the Caribbean seafloor. Although the vents are gushing liquid minerals estimated to be hotter than 450 degrees Celsius, they are surrounded by a remarkable abundance of marine life, including species of shrimp and snails never seen before.

    The volcanic vents were discovered five kilometers down near the bottom of Cayman Trough - an undersea trench south of the Cayman Islands. Expedition co-leader Jon Copley, a marine biologist of the University of Southampton in England spoke to us via Skype.

    “Deep sea vents are hot springs on the ocean floor. They are a little bit like the geysers you may know from Yellowstone Park in the U.S., except they are underwater... [and] they are not erupting steam. They are erupting really hot fluid, still liquid, loaded with dissolved minerals that form particles that looked like smoke and that’s why we nicknamed them 'black smokers',” said Copley.

    Hot fluid from Earth's crust

    Although they didn’t measure the vent temperatures directly, the scientists estimate that the dark material spewing out - mostly copper and other dissolved minerals - is hotter than 450 degrees Celsius.

    “That’s the temperature you get right at the very throat of the vent, where the hot fluid is gushing out [from] the earth’s crust. But the animals don’t live there. They live a little bit further away. A few meters away the temperature is down to 20 to 40 degrees [Celsius].”                                                        
    In those cooler waters around the vents’ six-meter tall mineral spires, the scientists found teeming populations of marine animals, including a new species of shrimp. Copley said the tiny white creatures exist in near-total darkness and feed mostly on bacteria.

    New species discovered

    “Instead of two eyes on stalks like shrimp normally have as an adult, these shrimp have a light-sensing organ on their back,” said Copley.

    They also found hundreds of white-tentacled anemones, but they could not collect specimens.

    Copley said that by studying the deep-sea vents and their animal colonies, scientists can better understand how marine life disperses and evolves in the deep ocean. He noted that in the coming years, the ecosystem will see an increasing human presence, in the form of deep-sea fishing, oil and gas extraction and mining operations.

    “”If we are going to make responsible decisions about how we manage those ocean resources, we need to understand what determines the patterns of life in the deep ocean,” said Copley.

    Copley and his team are now analyzing samples and data from “black smoker” vents recently found at four other seafloor sites around the world.

    You May Like

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora