Ocean Deep Essay

This essay has a total of 542 words and 3 pages.

Ocean Deep

Snelgrove and Grassle in The Deep Sea: Desert and Rainforest published in Oceanus, volume
38 in 1995 argue that the popular belief that the deep sea is little more than an "ocean
desert" is a pure fallacy. Contrary to such thinking a multitude of benthic organisms
dwell on the ocean bottom; despite the frigid temperatures and high pressure, a large
heterogeneity of creatures, rivaling in variety and number those inhabiting tropical
rainforests, thrive in this environment.


The "analogy of the ocean desert" arose from the technologically inadvanced photographs
and sampling equipment prior to the 1960's (25). However, it was during that decade that
WHOI biologists Sanders and Hessler, employing an epibenthic sled, produced extremely
varied samples of organisms from deep-sea communities. The epibenthic sled permitted
researchers to observe organisms that had previously gone unnoticed; unknown to the
scientific community was a varied population of macrofaunal benthos inhabiting the bottom
sediment, in addition to new species of polychaetes, crustaceans, and mollusks. Further
sampling in the 1980's, with the use of a box corer, revealed an astoundingly
heterogeneous population of benthic organisms equal, or perhaps more expansive in variety
than the number of species residing in the tropical rainforests. Therefore, though the
deep-sea may physically resemble a desert with its "large expanses of . . . gently rolling
contours of mud or sand with little visible life," in reality it is an ecosystem teeming
with life (27). Such diversity was most noteably evidenced by a sample taken from an area
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