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In the Ocean, a Preview of Life on Enceladus?

Deep-ocean environments, especially isolated locations, are rich with unusual, and often unique, organisms. A team from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute recently collected clues from one of these unique regions, Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, to learn about how life on Earth first began—and how alien life might evolve on other planets in the solar system.

Nobody has ever explored these deep waters, and no one on the team knows what they’ll find.

“It’s a unique area, and so it might host some unique life systems,” says Frieder Klein, a marine geologist who led the scientific team from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. 

This is just a tiny sampling of some of the creatures the multidisciplinary team of scientists collected earlier this year around this tiny island chain.

Left, a sea urchin, (Coelopleurus sp.)

These photos originally appeared in BioGraphic, an online magazine featuring beautiful and surprising stories about nature and sustainability. 

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