Dead Whale Contains a Bounty of Life
Researchers discover nine new species of marine organism on a whale carcass.
One such bottom buffet was found in 2010 by researchers aboard the R.R.S. James Cook as they guided a remotely operated vehicle over the seafloor around Antarctica's South Sandwich Islands (map), the first whalefall ever seen in the vicinity of the continent.
Even better, Natural History Museum, London marine biologist Diva Amon and colleagues now report in the journal Deep Sea Research Part II, the body of the Antarctic minke whale (Balaenoptera bonaerensis) was host to at least nine species that have never been seen before.
Dead whales that sink to the seafloor have a peculiar afterlife. Sharks, crabs, and other scavengers quickly hone in on the carcass and remove most of the whale's soft parts, such as