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January 23 2013

Wood on the seafloor: An oasis for deep-sea life


Trees do not grow in the deep sea, nevertheless sunken pieces of wood can develop into oases for deep-sea life - at least temporarily until the wood is fully degraded.

A team of Max Planck researchers from Germany now showed how sunken wood can develop into attractive habitats for a variety of microorganisms and invertebrates. By using underwater robot technology, they confirmed their hypothesis that animals from hot and cold seeps would be attracted to the wood due to the activity of bacteria, which produce hydrogen sulfide during wood degradation.

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