Dr. David Thistle
The sediment-covered deep-sea floor is the largest habitat on Earth. Despite the extreme conditions (low temperatures, high pressures, and little food input), the number of species present at a given deep-sea location for some taxa can rival that of the most species-rich groups in the most species-rich habitats on Earth.
For many years, benthic animals were considered to live their adult lives in the seabed. In the 1970s, evidence began to accumulate that this view was incorrect for some species. Since that time, workers have found that species of many taxa (e.g., polychaetes, amphipods, and harpacticoid copepods) have a life style that is primarily benthic but includes time in the water column at night.
Dr. David Thistle and Dr. Erin Easton, graduation summer, 2014