Deep sea special: Springtime in the abyss

 作者:段匪     |      日期:2019-04-04 09:09:12
By Jon Copley WHEN Charles Darwin set foot on the Galapagos Islands, he could look forward to finding five new species in as many minutes – a golden age of discovery that many biologists today can only yearn for. But for those of us exploring the “islands” of life on the ocean floor, it is still a reality. At these lush islands, gushing chemicals feed communities of bizarre animals. Food chains here are based not on photosynthesis, but on a process called chemosynthesis, so the inhabitants of these vents should be indifferent to the changing seasons far above them and to global disasters that devastate life on the surface. “That party’s been going on down there in the dark for the past billion years,” says Hollywood director turned deep-sea explorer James Cameron in his recent documentary, Aliens of the Deep. “It’s got nothing to do with us. The sun could go out tomorrow and they wouldn’t know and they wouldn’t care.” Or so people thought. But now a group of biologists (including myself) have found a thread linking these islands in the darkness with the sunlit realm above. Despite being far from the sun’s reach and having food enough to make merry all year round,