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October 11, 2012

Studying Life in Underwater Caves (Image 4)

Cave divers Terrence Tysall, Jim Rozzi and Thomas Iliffe (left to right) diving in a submarine lava tube cave in the Canary Islands.

Underwater caves such as this were the focus of a National Science Foundation-supported expedition--"Survey of Anchialine Cave Fauna of the Bahama Islands" (grant DEB 03-15903)--led by Iliffe, a professor of marine biology at Texas A&M University at Galveston.

Anchialine (a Greek word meaning "near the sea") caves are coastal and form in limestone or volcanic rock. They flood with seawater and include the longest submerged caves on Earth. Many previously unknown species of higher taxa live in these caves. Most do not have eyes or pigment since they live in perpetual darkness.

To learn more, see the Texas A&M news story Texas A&M marine experts take discoveries to new underwater heights; or visit Iliffe's website, Here. [Ref. Koenemann, S. M. Ziegler and T.M. Iliffe (2008). Pleomothra fragilis n. sp. (Remipedia) from the Bahamas, with remarks on morphologic reductions and postnaupliar development. Journal of Crustacean Biology, 28(1):128-136.] (Date of Image: March 2008) [Image 4 of 5 related images. See Image 5.]

Credit: Jill Heinerth

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