The Deep-Sea Floor Rivals Rain Forests in Diversity of Life

Blue luminescence and marine snow define a world where millions of species of worms and other invertebrates live out their lives

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The bottom of the sea is cold, dark and under pressures of tons per square inch. Although we have known for more than 100 years that there is life down there, we had no idea how much until recently, when improved collecting devices brought up creatures that stunned biologists by their numbers and variety. This is true from the start of the deep sea on the continental slope, where no sunlight can penetrate and no plants can grow, to the abyssal plains two miles down. The biodiversity of the sea bottom may rival that of coral reefs and rain forests.

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