Ecologists from the Institute of Zoology at the University of Cologne have discovered an unexpected variety of life at great depths.
The authors studied the deep-sea biodiversity of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans in their work. The group of researchers has collected data for 20 years, which now allows you to evaluate and compare the diversity of eukaryotes.
The researchers worked with sedimentary rocks from depths of 4,000 to more than 8,000 meters, then they cultivated and sequenced the genes of populations living exclusively at great depths, and carried out their molecular analysis.
More than 60% of the surface of our planet is occupied by the bottom of the oceans more than 1,000 meters deep. This is the largest part of the biosphere. Now it turned out that in different places on the ocean floor there are completely different communities of organisms.
The majority of the studied organisms were occupied by protists: their diversity significantly exceeded the diversity of multicellular animals. The authors were surprised by the high proportion of parasitic forms, from 10 to 20%, the presence of which scientists had not previously suspected. Such living things usually parasitized on animals such as crustaceans or fish, but some infected even the simplest life forms.