New marine community


  • Anonymous


While exploring the West Florida Escarpment, a steep slope in the Gulf of Mexico several hundred kilometers off the Florida coast, the deep submergence research vessel Alvin chanced upon a well-developed community of marine life akin to that found 7 years ago in the eastern Pacific Ocean.

According to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, which operates the submersible and its new tender, the Atlantis II (Eos, November 1, 1983, p. 619), the marine community contains large clams, mussels, crabs, fish, and tube worms like those found at hydrothermal vents in the eastern Pacific. While the east Pacific communities exist at spreading centers, the newly discovered group, which may stretch for almost 2 km at a depth of roughly 3200 km, lies in a passive continental margin. Also, whereas the water around the Pacific hydrothermal vents is much warmer than the surrounding seawater, the water around the new found community is apparently the same temperature as the ambient waters.