Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Deep oceans ... give me the creeps

I went to a talk about deep sea exploration on Monday evening. The speaker (Dr Pierre Legendre from Canada) showed us some video clips about how his team used a ROV, a remotely operated underwater vehicle, to go down to more than 2000 meters in the ocean (I can't remember which one) .

The ROV went near some hydrothermal vent and took photos of it. It gave me the creeps to see that it was so dark and there were only some little shrimps, crabs and mussels fixed onto the surface of rocks. It is just too ghostly for me.

Oh, and there were some strands of bacteria living near the hydrothermal vent. These guys use sulfurous compounds that seep out from the hydrothermal vent to make food and they act as an energy source to the small animals living there.

I know these animals and the bacteria are alive. But the moment I saw those clips, I just thought of two words: lifeless and death. No idea why or how.

A hydrothermal vent in the Atlantic Ocean
Source: NOAA
Photographer: P. Rona

Heaps of clams near some hydrothermal vent in the Pacific Ocean, at the depth of 2800 meters
Source: NOAA
Photographer: A. Malahoff

Heaps of hydrothermal vent tubeworms in the Pacific Ocean
Source: NOAA

Dr Legendre said that fishes or shrimps living near the hydrothermal vent were not likely to taste good. They would have so much sulfur and heavy metals in their flesh. I could try to be politically correct but Yucks! They just sound like some seafood from polluted waters.


Wois said...

sea volcanoes activity!

the structure of second picture is called pillow lava. Formed by sea volcano when lava erupted in the sea water. It is not a vent but can consider as a part of hydrothermal.

Relative to the majority of the deep sea, the areas around submarine hydrothermal vents are biologically more productive, often hosting complex communities fueled by the chemicals dissolved in the vent fluids. Chemosynthetic archaea form the base of the food chain, supporting diverse organisms, including giant tube worms, clams, and shrimp.

Tsun-Thai Chai said...

Dear Wois,

You impressed me!