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Gallery: Unique Life at Antarctic Deep-Sea Vents

Antarctic Black Smokers

black smokers in the antarctic ocean.

(Image credit: (c) NERC ChEsSo Consortium)

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

Anemones and barnacles at Antarctic deep-sea vents.

(Image credit: (c) NERC ChEsSo Consortium)

The vents host an astounding amount of life, including bacterial mats, anemones and barnacles not known to science.

Warm-Water Haven

Anemones and barnacles at Antarctic deep-sea vents.

(Image credit: (c) NERC ChEsSo Consortium)

Anemones and barnacles thriving in warm vent waters.

Isis ROV

Isis ROV in an Antarctic snow storm.

(Image credit: (c) Alex Rogers)

The Isis remotely operated vehicle (ROV) in an Antarctic snowstorm. The ROV brought back video and samples from the vents.

Isis Returns

Isis ROV carrying samples from Antarctic vents.

(Image credit: (c) Alex Rogers)

Isis returns to the surface with samples.

Stormy Seas

An Antarctic storm

(Image credit: (c) Alex Rogers)

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.

Control Room

Isis control room during Antarctic exploration.

(Image credit: (c) Alex Rogers)

Researchers in the ROV control room peer at undersea images sent up by Isis.

Crab Chimney

Yeti crabs on an Antarctic vent.

(Image credit: (c) NERC ChEsSo Consortium)

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

New gastropod (snail) at Antarctic vent.

(Image credit: (c) NERC ChEsSo Consortium)

A yeti crab nestled amidst a group of brown snails. These pelotspiroid gastropods are likely a previously unknown species.

Crabs and Barnacles

Crabs and barnacles at Antarctic vents.

(Image credit: (c) NERC ChEsSo Consortium)

Barnacles and yeti crabs dominate the landscape near the vents.

Lone Crinoid

Crinoid in Southern Ocean at Antarctic vent.

(Image credit: (c) NERC ChEsSo Consortium)

A crinoid clings to an area dubbed "Devil's Punchbowl" near a hydrothermal vent. Crinoids are filter-feeding marine animals.