On 28 February 1996 Japanese researchers working on the Deep Star programme broke their own world record by sending the unmanned submersible Kaiko (the Japanese word for “trench”) to a depth of 10,898 m beneath the Pacific Ocean (Fig. 9.1). Kaiko sent back video images of life in the depths of the Mariana Trench, the deepest point in the world’s oceans. A brief but excited fax from the mother ship described the scene captured on Kaiko’s camera: “The bed of the Mariana Trench was filled with a fine mud of reddish brown (Fig. 9.2). There were no rocks or cracks at all and it resembled a desert. However, very unusual organisms were observed here and there.” In the following fax, they described types of sea urchin, quite fast-moving jellyfish, and the excrement of sea organisms. My colleagues also saw a fast-moving shrimp about 3 cm long (Figs. 9.3 and 9.4). There was also a kind of sea cucumber, which was the same size as the jellyfish. Kaiko scooped up samples of mud to bring to the surface (Kato et al. 1997; Kato et al. 1998). Now we would be able to isolate living creatures from the deepest point of the Mariana Trench (Table 9.1).
KeywordsMicrobial Flora Deep Point World Record Japanese Researcher Lactobacillus Delbrueckii
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