B. MURTON / SOUTHAMPTON OCEANOGRAPHY CENTRE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY B. MURTON / SOUTHAMPTON OCEANOGRAPHY CENTRE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Sea anemone. View of an unidentified sea anemone on a rock of solidified lava over three and a half kilometres beneath the surface. This lava welled up from the sea bed at the mid-Atlantic ridge, a fault in the Earth's crust where two plates are moving apart. The sea anemone must withstand tremendous pressure to survive at this depth. Ecosystems on the cold and pitch black ocean floor are found around hydrothermal vents, places where superheated water saturated with minerals escapes into the cold water. Bacteria use the minerals to produce energy, and form the base of a food chain which includes large sea fans and types of crab.
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