Coryphaenoides brevibarbis, nicknamed the rat-tail, is a creature with bones in its ear known as otoliths which have growth bands similar to tree rings (Photo: Rebecca Hunter)
“The deep sea is the Earth’s largest continuous ecosystem and largest habitat for life. It is also the least studied,” says Dr. Chris German, who along with hundreds of other Marine Life scientists from around the globe is shedding light on these mysterious depths through an unprecedented census of deep-sea marine inhabitants. Their recordings have yielded astonishing findings of more than 17,500 species of often bizarre marine creatures - from oil-eating tubeworms to elephant-eared octopods - inhabiting the blackest depths between 200 meters and up to 5, 000 meters (~3 miles) below ocean surface. Even more remarkable is the ability of these deep-sea creatures to live and thrive in topographically challenging environments where food availability is marginal, at best.