There are many wonderful and utterly amazing habitats in the deep sea that occur nowhere else on earth. Dead whales called ‘whale falls’ create temporary biotopes, as do shipwrecks, and of course the hydrothermal vents which get the lion’s share of the popular attention.
But one habitat that has always fascinated me in particular is the deep sea brine pools. It’s just utterly incredible to imagine that there are bodies of water within the sea that are saltier than the ocean itself. These brine pools are rich in methane creating an underwater coastline of mussels that live in symbiosis with methane loving bacteria, and a unique places that attracts other deep sea animals.
But the brine itself is quite toxic and it kills many different fish and other creatures who happen to stray to far inside, or for too long. Strangely enough this attracts other scavenging animals who swim into the brine in search of potential food, but at the risk of succumbing to the toxic effects themselves.
This fascinating video is just an excerpt from the new Blue Planet 2 series which documents the risks of the brine pools in amazing detail. Furthermore, the brine is made of chemicals which embalms dead animals that it kills so there could be decades worth of ‘preserved’ sealife floating on the higher density brine, testifying to the dangers of this very, very, unusual place in the ocean.