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Richard Walker

Bottom feeders

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When a whale dies it usually sinks to the bottom.  This is called whale-fall.

The corpse will then nurture a diverse range of organisms, of a period of many years.  They follow a succession - like trees and shrubs in a forest growing up in a cleared area once it is left alone - and form a unique ecosystem.  A range of organisms are specialised to live only in these whale-falls.

That is quite surprising - to me anyway - but even more so is that fossil deposits have been found that looks like plesiosaur-falls: giant marine reptiles from long before whales existed died and sank and their carcasses supported communities much like those of present day whale-fall ecosystems.

Permalink 1 comment (latest comment by Tebogo Mogorosi, Friday, 22 Jan 2010, 12:47)
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