Deep-sea crustaceans on film and near-bottom ampipod swarms

The BBC is presenting an article and series of films from a recent University of Aberdeen research expedition. The films are shot between 5.5 kilometers and 10 kilometers in depth and feature snailfish, decapod shrimp, isopods, and amphipods as they scavenge on a bait bag. The videos are narrated by Dr. Alan Jamieson, and he shares some neat insights about deep sea life.

I am personally surprised at the ridiculous swarms of amphipods in the 9 km and 10 km videos. I did not think deep sea life was that dense except around vents and seeps. They don’t say how long the bait bag was there before the film starts, and it could have been down there for hours attracting every amphipod in a 100 m radius. However, a quick check of the literature reveals that these near-bottom deep-sea amphipod swarms have been observed near vents as well as in open abyssal plains. Pelagic swarming is not typically a characteristic attributed to deep sea crustaceans and its ecological significance is unknown.

A swarm of undescribed paradaliscid amphipods, photographed from the submersible Alvin near a deep sea vent in the East Pacific Rise (Dover et al., 1992).

References:
Dover, C.L.V. et al., 1992. Deep-sea amphipod swarms. Nature, 358(6381), 25-26.

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I have moved.
Arthropoda can now be found here.

Michael Bok is a graduate student studying the visual system of mantis shrimp.

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