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]
Anemones and Barnacles
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.
Crab and Snails
A yeti crab nestled amidst a group of brown snails. These pelotspiroid gastropods are likely a previously unknown species.
Crabs and Barnacles
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 Sea Stars
Seven-armed predatory sea stars use the vent area as hunting grounds.
Predators of the Vents
Researchers observed these sea stars eating yeti crabs.
Bunches of Barnacles
A close view of the stalked barnacles carpeting the rock around the vents
Yeti crabs are found around deep-sea vents. Some species have hairy arms, but the ones pictured here inhabit the waters off Antarctica and have hairy chests instead.
Piece of the Deep Sea
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.
Stephanie Pappas, Live Science Contributor
Stephanie Pappas is a contributing writer for Live Science. She covers the world of human and animal behavior, as well as paleontology and other science topics. Stephanie has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of South Carolina and a graduate certificate in science communication from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She has ducked under a glacier in Switzerland and poked hot lava with a stick in Hawaii. Stephanie hails from East Tennessee, the global center for salamander diversity. Follow Stephanie on Google+.