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Latest Craig McClain Stories

Sunken Logs Create New Habitats For Seafloor Animals
2014-04-10 14:25:36

MBARI When it comes to food, most of the deep sea is a desert. Many seafloor animals feed on marine snow—the organic remnants of algae and animals that live in the sunlit surface waters, far above. However, marine snow only falls as a light dusting and doesn’t have much nutritional value. Thus, any other sources of food that reach the deep sea provide a temporary feast. Even bits of dead wood, waterlogged enough to sink, can support thriving communities of specialized animals. A new...

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2010-04-05 11:05:00

Surplus food can be a double-edged sword for bottom-feeders in the ocean deep, according to a new study in the April issue of Ecology. While extra nutrients give a boost to large animals on the deep sea floor, the feeding frenzy that results wreaks havoc on smaller animals in the seafloor sediment, researchers say. Descend thousands of feet under the ocean to the deep sea floor, and you'll find a blue-black world of cold and darkness, blanketed in muddy ooze. In this world without sunlight,...

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2009-02-12 11:08:01

Over the last two decades, marine biologists have discovered lush forests of deep-sea corals and sponges growing on seamounts (underwater mountains) offshore of the California coast. It has generally been assumed that many of these animals live only on seamounts, and are found nowhere else. However, two new research papers show that most seamount animals can also be found in other deep-sea areas. Seamounts, however, do support particularly large, dense clusters of these animals. These...


Word of the Day
barghest
  • A goblin in English folklore, often appearing in the shape of a large dog and believed to portend imminent death or misfortune.
  • A ghost, wraith, hobgoblin, elf, or spirit.
The origin of 'barghest' is not known, but it may be from perhaps burh-ghest, town-ghost, or German Berg-geist (mountain spirit) or Bär-geist (bear-spirit).
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