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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.