Quote of the week

“The ocean floor is like a rainforest where feces and dead animals rain from the sky” – Dr. Craig McLean

When many people hear the word “biodiversity,” they immediately think of tropical rainforests, or coral reefs; but as this picture demonstrates, biodiversity is a concept that ought to be more closely associated with the ocean floor, as well.

Incredibly, the species you see gathered in the image up top were were collected in a single, handful-sized scoop of seafloor mud. But here’s what’s really mind blowing: move a few feet in any direction from the site these organisms were collected, and the mud sample you gather is liable to turn up a very different set of creatures.

According to Craig McClain — Assistant Director of Science for the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center and chief editor for Deep Sea News — up until the 1960s, the ocean floor was widely regarded as something of a uniform “wasteland” when it came to organismal diversity. Over the last few decades, however, scientists have come to realize that this assumption could not be further from the truth.

See the full story here

 

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