Author: Hannah Osborne
Bacteria that absorbs carbon dioxide (CO2) and potentially turns itself into a food source for other sea creatures has been discovered in one of the deepest parts of the Pacific Ocean.
Scientists were studying the ecosystems in the Clarion-Clipperton Fracture Zone (CCFZ), a trench that extends 2.5 miles beneath the surface of the ocean. The area is currently being explored for its deep sea mining potential—contractors from nations including Korea, Germany and the U.K. believe the site to be a promising source of polymetallic nodules, which contain metals like nickel, copper and cobalt. Teams of researchers are now conducting surveys to assess the biodiversity of the CCFZ to understand what the impact deep sea mining might have.
Andrew Sweetman, from the Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, U.K., and his colleagues carried out a series of experiments of the sediments located in the CCFZ and discovered something unexpected—bacteria that was consuming huge amounts of CO2. Findings are published in the journal Limnology and Oceanography.
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