Organisms Found in Deepest Part of Ocean

Date: 1/2/2005

Tiny single-celled organisms, many previously unknown, have been discovered beneath nearly seven miles of water in the deepest part of the ocean. A sample of sediment collected from the Challenger Deep southwest of Guam in the Pacific Ocean Islands yielded several hundred foraminifera, a type of plankton that is usually abundant near the ocean surface. ‘The outer shapes are similar to other known foraminifera, but details of their structure differ’, explained Kitazato, of the Institute for Research on Earth Evolution, Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology. “I am very surprised that so many very simple, soft-shelled foraminifera are dwelling at the deepest point of the world ocean. It is also exiting that most of the group belong to the oldest branch of foraminifera,” he said suggesting that these deep locations may form some sort of refuge for them. These distinct creatures probably represent the remnants of a deep-dwelling group that was able to adapt to the high pressures, the researchers suggest in reporting the find. Their discovery is reported in the journal Science.