Life in the deep sea: Biodiversity of ocean depths unlike any other place on Earth

Date: May 11, 2016

The biodiversity of creatures living in the deep sea is unlike that seen in any other place on Earth, researchers have discovered. Analysis of brittle and basket stars living at different depths has shown major differences in the drivers of diversity, potentially providing a “global baseline for conservation efforts” for these deep dwelling creatures.

In a paper published in the journal Nature, scientists from Australia and the UK wrote: “Deep-sea environments comprise approximately 66% of global sea-floor area, and hence more than half of the planet’s surface. The sinking of biological material to the sea floor is a critical part of the global carbon cycle and climate. Yet global patterns of sea-floor diversity remain unknown, having so far been described only on local and regional scales.”

Researchers examined biodiversity patterns of the deep ocean by examining the global distribution records of 165,000 brittle and basket star species (Ophiuroidea). This class (a relative of starfish) is a “dominant component of sea-floor fauna” and is found at various ocean depths, meaning their biodiversity can be compared.


Keep reading the original article from International Business Times