In 2009, Kerry McPhail descended Jacques Cousteau-style towards the Axial Volcano, inside the cramped, 30-year-old little submarine DSV Alvin, with a pilot and another scientist. Three hundred miles off the coast of Oregon, they were collecting tubeworms, bacterial mats and bivalves living near a deep sea volcanic vent. These samples could potentially yield new pharmaceutical compounds—and in turn, new chemical cures and desperately needed antibiotics that are yet undiscovered.
Marine biologists have discovered six new animal species in undersea hot springs nearly two miles deep in the southwest Indian Ocean—an area already slated for future seafloor mining.
You’ve heard that we know more about space than we do the deep ocean. But did you know it’sso unexplored that scientists discover new species just 200-500 feet down, sometimes at a rate of 14 an hour? A (sort of) manmade enemy threatens those efforts though, and they can’t kill, study, and eat it fast enough.