A first glimpse at black smokers on the Antarctic sea floor. These hydrothermal vents contain compounds that make the ultra-heated water they spew out smoke-colored. [Read about the vents here]
The vents host an astounding amount of life, including bacterial mats, anemones and barnacles not known to science.
Anemones and barnacles thriving in warm vent waters.
The Isis remotely operated vehicle (ROV) in an Antarctic snowstorm. The ROV brought back video and samples from the vents.
Isis returns to the surface with samples.
A storm batters the research ship in the Antarctic Ocean. Weather like this is one reason that Antarctic vents have not been studied as much as vents in more temperate areas.
Researchers in the ROV control room peer at undersea images sent up by Isis.
A new species of yeti crab clings to a hydrothermal chimney. The crabs have tendrils on their chests stocked with bacterial mats that they likely "garden" for food.
A yeti crab nestled amidst a group of brown snails. These pelotspiroid gastropods are likely a previously unknown species.
Barnacles and yeti crabs dominate the landscape near the vents.
A crinoid clings to an area dubbed "Devil's Punchbowl" near a hydrothermal vent. Crinoids are filter-feeding marine animals.
A large sea anemone seen through the ROV cameras.
Clusters of brown snails living around the Antarctic vents.
Seven-armed predatory sea stars use the vent area as hunting grounds.
Researchers observed these sea stars eating yeti crabs.
A close view of the stalked barnacles carpeting the rock around the vents
Yeti crabs are found around East Pacific deep-sea vents, but those species have hairy arms. The yeti crabs found in Antarctica have hairy chests instead.
A sample of part of a vent chimney brought to the surface by the Isis ROV.
A second vent fragment. Minerals in the ultra-heated water from the vents precipitates out, leaving behind chimney-like vent structures.
Zoarcid fish caught in a trap deployed by the ROV. Samples of abundant animals were taken so that researchers can determine how they fit into the known animal kingdom.
A ghostly pale octopus caught on camera near the vents. The octopuses seemed curious, or at least drawn in by the ROV lights, and often came right up to the submersible.