Gallery: Unique Life at Antarctic Deep-Sea Vents

Large Anemone

Anemone at Antarctic deep-sea vent.

(Image credit: (c) NERC ChEsSo Consortium)

A large sea anemone seen through the ROV cameras.

Gastropod Cluster

New snails at Antarctic vent

(Image credit: (c) NERC ChEsSo Consortium)

Clusters of brown snails living around the Antarctic vents.

Seven-armed Sea Stars

Sea stars at Antarctic vents

(Image credit: (c) NERC ChEsSo Consortium)

Seven-armed predatory sea stars use the vent area as hunting grounds.

Predators of the Vents

Sea stars at Antarctic vents

(Image credit: (c) NERC ChEsSo Consortium)

Researchers observed these sea stars eating yeti crabs.

Bunches of Barnacles

Stalked barnacles at Antarctic deep-sea vents

(Image credit: (c) NERC ChEsSo Consortium)

A close view of the stalked barnacles carpeting the rock around the vents

Yeti Crabs

Yeti crabs on an Antarctic vent.

(Image credit: (c) NERC ChEsSo Consortium)

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

Antarctic vent chimney sample.

(Image credit: (c) Alex Rogers)

A sample of part of a vent chimney brought to the surface by the Isis ROV.

Chimney Sample

Vent chimney sample from Antarctica.

(Image credit: (c) Alex Rogers)

A second vent fragment. Minerals in the ultra-heated water from the vents precipitates out, leaving behind chimney-like vent structures.

Going Fishing

Fish caught in an ROV trap in Antarctica.

(Image credit: (c) NERC ChEsSo Consortium)

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.

Ghost Octopus

A ghostly pale octopus at Antarctic vents.

(Image credit: (c) NERC ChEsSo Consortium)

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, covering topics ranging from geoscience to archaeology to the human brain and behavior. She was previously a senior writer for Live Science but is now a freelancer based in Denver, Colorado, and regularly contributes to Scientific American and The Monitor, the monthly magazine of the American Psychological Association. Stephanie received a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of South Carolina and a graduate certificate in science communication from the University of California, Santa Cruz.