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 (1801 Posts)

Craig McClain is the Executive Director of the Lousiana University Marine Consortium. He has conducted deep-sea research for 20 years and published over 50 papers in the area. He has participated in and led dozens of oceanographic expeditions taken him to the Antarctic and the most remote regions of the Pacific and Atlantic. Craig’s research focuses on how energy drives the biology of marine invertebrates from individuals to ecosystems, specifically, seeking to uncover how organisms are adapted to different levels of carbon availability, i.e. food, and how this determines the kinds and number of species in different parts of the oceans. Additionally, Craig is obsessed with the size of things. Sometimes this translated into actually scientific research. Craig’s research has been featured on National Public Radio, Discovery Channel, Fox News, National Geographic and ABC News. In addition to his scientific research, Craig also advocates the need for scientists to connect with the public and is the founder and chief editor of the acclaimed Deep-Sea News (, a popular ocean-themed blog that has won numerous awards. His 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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