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Images: Life Grows on Sunken Ancient Vases

Ancient Experiments

(Image credit: Derek Smith/RPM Nautical Foundation)

Ancient amphoras may be able to tell ecologists more about how species move around the seafloor.

Octopus Home

(Image credit: Derek Smith/RPM Nautical Foundation)

Octopuses sometimes make their home inside ancient amphoras.

Ancient Vases as Ecology Experiments

(Image credit: Derek Smith/RPM Nautical Foundation)

Researchers with the RPM Nautical Foundation are starting to document the creatures clinging to ancient vases as they map shipwreck sites throughout the Mediterranean. Here's a gallery of some of their finds.

Tube Worms

(Image credit: Derek Smith/RPM Nautical Foundation)

A close-up of tube worms on the ceramic surface of a centuries-old vase.

Starfish on Vase

(Image credit: Derek Smith/RPM Nautical Foundation)

RPM's data will go into a huge searchable database that paints a full picture of the ecological, geographic and archaeological landscape of the Mediterranean.

Megan Gannon
Megan has been writing for Live Science and Space.com since 2012. Her interests range from archaeology to space exploration, and she has a bachelor's degree in English and art history from New York University. Megan spent two years as a reporter on the national desk at NewsCore. She has watched dinosaur auctions, witnessed rocket launches, licked ancient pottery sherds in Cyprus and flown in zero gravity. Follow her on Twitter and Google+.