Zoology Organisms Found In Deepest Part Of Ocean

Discussion in 'Zoology' started by mscbkc070904, Mar 4, 2005.

  1. mscbkc070904

    mscbkc070904 Premium Member

    --Goes to show that even on our own planet there is still wild undiscovered mysteries.

    Tiny Single-Celled Organisms Are Found Beneath Nearly 7 Miles of Water in Deepest Part of Ocean

    WASHINGTON Feb 3, 2005 — Tiny single-celled organisms, many of them previously unknown, have been discovered beneath nearly seven miles of water in the deepest part of the ocean.

    A sample of sediment collected from the Challenger Deep southwest of Guam in the Pacific Ocean Islands yielded several hundred foraminifera, a type of plankton that is usually abundant near the ocean surface.

    "On the species level, all the species we found from the Challenger Deep are quite new," researcher Hiroshi Kitazato said vie e-mail.

    The outer shapes are similar to other known foraminifera, but details of their structure differ, explained Kitazato, of the Institute for Research on Earth Evolution, Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology.

    "I am very surprised that so many very simple, soft-shelled foraminifera are dwelling at the deepest point of the world ocean," he added.

    "It is also exiting that most of the group belong to the oldest branch of foraminifera," he added, suggesting that these deep locations may form some sort of refuge for them.

    These distinct creatures probably represent the remnants of a deep-dwelling group that was able to adapt to the high pressures, the researchers suggest in reporting the find. Their discovery is reported in this week's issue of the journal Science.

    Because the water is so deep, the pressure where the find was made is 1,100 times more than normal atmospheric pressure at the surface.

    While many foraminifera have hard shells, the researchers noted that this newly found group does not.

    Similar, though not identical, groups have been found in other, slightly shallower, ocean trenches, they note.

    The creatures probably can exist by ingesting particles of organic matter that drift down from above or materials that are dissolved in the seawater, Kitazato said.

    The research was funded by the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, the Japan Society for Promotion of Science, the Kaplan Foundation and the Natural Environment Research Council.

    Source: AP & ABC News

    [Edited on 3-5-2005 by mscbkc070904]
     
  2. mscbkc070904

    mscbkc070904 Premium Member

    What is foraminifera?

    Foraminifera (forams for short) are single-celled protists with shells. Their shells are also referred to as tests because in some forms the protoplasm covers the exterior of the shell. The shells are commonly divided into chambers which are added during growth, though the simplest forms are open tubes or hollow spheres. Depending on the species, the shell may be made of organic compounds, sand grains and other particles cemented together, or crystalline calcite.

    Fully grown individuals range in size from about 100 micrometers to almost 20 centimeters long. A single individual may have one or many nuclei within its cell. The largest living species have a symbiotic relationship with algae, which they "farm" inside their shells. Other species eat foods ranging from dissolved organic molecules, bacteria, diatoms and other single celled phytoplankton, to small animals such as copepods. They move and catch their food with a network of thin extensions of the cytoplasm called reticulopodia, similar to the pseudopodia of an amoeba, although much more numerous and thinner.

    Foraminifera: Life History and Ecology