Deep-Sea Creatures Play in the Same Band

I am really loving the new paper by O’Hara et al.  The gist is we typically think of the different oceans having unique sets of deep-sea organisms.  A Pacific set of animals, an Atlantic set, an Indian set and so on.  But O’Hara and colleagues show instead that brittle stars are differentiated along broad latitudinal bands.  This is very similar to shallow water where gradients in temperature, food, and other environmental attributes vary over latitude.  But in the deep sea we expect these gradients to be nonexistent or be so weak as not to influence organisms.

You can read press coverage with the punny title  Scientists discover deep-sea creatures play in the same band, that I couldn’t resist using for the title fo this post, or better yet visit the orignal paper.

O’Hara, T., Rowden, A., & Bax, N. (2011). A Southern Hemisphere Bathyal Fauna Is Distributed in Latitudinal Bands Current Biology DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2011.01.002

Dr. M (1720 Posts)

Craig McClain is the Assistant Director of Science for the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, created to facilitate research to address fundamental questions in evolutionary science. He has conducted deep-sea research for 11 years and published over 40 papers in the area. He has participated in dozens of expeditions taking him to the Antarctic and the most remote regions of the Pacific and Atlantic. Craig’s research focuses mainly on marine systems and particularly the biology of body size, biodiversity, and energy flow. He focuses often on deep-sea systems as a natural test of the consequences of energy limitation on biological systems. He is the author and chief editor of Deep-Sea News, a popular deep-sea themed blog, rated the number one ocean blog on the web and winner of numerous awards. Craig’s popular writing has been featured in Cosmos, Science Illustrated, American Scientist, Wired, Mental Floss, and the Open Lab: The Best Science Writing on the Web.

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