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Deep-Sea Biology  



Most animals of the deep are of ordinary size. The ferocious-looking large-fanged viperfish, for example (see Midwater page), is typically only a few centimetres to 30 cm long. But an unusual feature of some animals of the deep is known as gigantism: a larger body size than their comparable relatives in shallower waters. For example:

  • Huge oarfish (first photographed alive in 1998; probably the source of sea-serpent legends);
  • Giant isopods;
  • 2-meter (6-foot) hydrothermal-vent tubeworms

The most famous example of gigantism is of course the Giant Squidand the even larger Collosal Squid; information can be found at:

Image from Greenview

While we understand why hydrothermal-vent tubeworms can be enormous- they live off of hydrothermal vents which supply practically unlimited energy for bacterial growth- we are not sure how and why some other animals (inhabiting often energy-poor habitats) can get so large.

Examples of large animals that we caught

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Giant grenadier (b)
Albatrossia pectoralis
Giant cuskeel (a)
Abyssal Anemone (a) Seaspider (a) Big Squid (a?) Large Pteraster slimestar (b)

(a) = abyssal (2900m); (b) = bathyal (1800-2000m)

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