” While surveying the seafloor last fall, a research vessel spotted bubbles rising from the depths.
Now, another ship has gone back to investigate, and found a variety of life on the seafloor surrounding a methane seep, according to an update from researchers with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
On May 8, the NOAA ship Ron Brown deployed an unmanned sub named Jason to the seafloor offshore Virginia. The sub came upon patches of white bacteria that can harness energy by breaking down methane and are a dead giveaway that leaking natural gas is likely to be found nearby. It encountered the seep at a depth of 1 mile (1.6 kilometers), the vehicle’s deepest dive.
The submarine snapped photos of a spider crab and other unidentified fish surrounding the methane seep. The vehicle also took samples of soil and live mussels that scientists will later analyze in order to better understand life from the abyss. [Photos: Unique Life Found at East Coast Gas Seep]“
- Unique sealife found at East Coast methane seep (science.nbcnews.com)
- Photos: Unique Life Found at East Coast Gas Seep (livescience.com)
- Discovery of a New Deep Chemosynthetic Community (ncmns.wordpress.com)