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October 23, 2012
Dean's Blue Hole on Long Island in the Bahamas. At more than 200 meters deep, it's the deepest blue hole cave in the Bahamas. The underwater cave was the focus of a National Science Foundation-supported expedition--"Survey of Anchialine Cave Fauna of the Bahama Islands" (grant DEB 03-15903)--led by Thomas Iliffe, a professor of marine biology at Texas A&M University at Galveston. Anchialine (a Greek word meaning "near the sea") caves are coastal and form in limestone or volcanic rock. They flood with seawater and include the longest submerged caves on Earth. Many previously unknown species of higher taxa live in these caves. Most do not have eyes or pigment since they live in perpetual darkness. Credit: Tamara Thomsen