Two of the most exotic types of ecosystem of the deep ocean are hydrothermal vents that expel hot water, and jets emanating from methane, which usually have a much lower temperature. Both ecosystems host life forms adapted to each stage and remain directly or indirectly from the products that flow from these points beneath the seabed.
It is rare to find an ecosystem of a type crossing with each other at a common site type. Yet that is precisely what they found and researchers explored during an expedition in waters off the coast of Costa Rica.
The results of the preliminary analysis of everything found during this expedition have now been presented publicly. Among the findings highlight diverse life forms that were previously unknown.
The team of Lisa Levin, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California at San Diego, investigated the geochemical properties of the area known as Jaco Scar, where an underwater mountain is slipping slowly beneath a plate, along with microbes and other small organisms. Animals that live together in this unique site range from those typical in the vicinity of hydrothermal vents or cold jets of methane, to unique creatures that live in both ecosystems.
The area has a large population of tubeworms and crabs, as well as the presence of mussels and other animals, many of which are previously unknown species. A long and painstaking work of cataloging is awaiting analysis and scientists.
The investigation was also worked by other specialists of that school, as well as Indiana State University, California Institute of Technology, the Occidental College in Los Angeles in California, the Aquarium Research Institute in Monterey Bay in California, and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts, all these institutions in the U.S. as well as specialists from the Museum of Natural History in London and the Swedish Museum of Natural History.