Nearly 8 Miles Down, Bacteria Thrive in the Oceans' Deepest Trench

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At the bottom of the Mariana Trench, nearly eight miles below the ocean's surface, abundant communities of bacteria thrive.
(image by PNAS / Yayanos et. al.)
The Challenger Deep, the deepest point on the entire seafloor, lies in the Mariana Trench off the coast of the Pacific Ocean's Mariana Islands. It is nearly 36,000 feet - 7.8 miles - below the ocean's surface. If you were to stand at this remarkable depth, the column of water above your head would exert 1000 times the amount of pressure you normally experience at the surface, crushing you instantly. Even in this extreme environment, though, organisms can survive. One type, it turns out, can even prosper: bacteria. A new study, published today in Nature Geoscience, finds that unexpectedly abundant bacteria communities grow in the depths of the Mariana Trench, with organisms living at densities ten times greater than in the much shallower ocean floor at the trench's rim. The discovery of such abundant bacterial life is particularly surprising because conventional wisdom would suggest...

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But sadly it neither shames us basically or do we ... by Suzana Megles on Monday, Mar 18, 2013 at 4:38:57 PM