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Seafloor Biodiversity

September 6, 2017

Unexpected biodiversity on the seafloor may play a big role in marine food webs.


A red hydromedusa hovering over the seafloor. NOAA Photo Library CC BY 2.0, via flickr, cropped A

A red hydromedusa hovering over the seafloor. (NOAA Photo Library/CC BY 2.0, via flickr, cropped)


Ocean floor abundance. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

When it comes to diversity and abundance of marine life, coral reefs, mangrove swamps and seagrass beds are hard to beat. But just as prairies and deserts on land harbor more life than is apparent, muddy, rocky and sandy expanses of ocean floor also are teeming with unseen life. Cape Cod National Seashore Biologist Sophia Fox studies the seafloor.

SOPHIA FOX ( Cape Cod National Seashore ):

When we think of the ocean, we think of the big stuff, like the lobsters, the fish, dolphins. But all of those things depend on the smallest little creatures, small crustaceans and worms, and that’s what we’re look at. And what we found is that those organisms are very abundant in places we don’t expect.


That means that these enormous, seemingly boring stretches of seafloor could have a much bigger influence on marine food webs than was thought. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.

Story by Bob Hirshon