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Deep Ocean Sediments

Researchers Uncover New Possibilities for Life in Deep Ocean Sediments

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Scholars from University of Rhode Island (URI) uncovered single-cell microorganisms in deep ocean sediments. The discovery is a revelation for many reasons. It not only confirms the rising capabilities of technologies, but earlier, researchers believed such habits were likely inhabitable.

Arthur Spivack, the URI professor, and co-author of the paper said, “Water boils on earth’s surface at 100 degree Celsius. These organisms were found to be living in temperatures ranging up to 120 degree Celsius.” The research expedition organized by Japan’s agency of Marine-Earth science also revealed few other terrific insights. The researchers dug a nearly 1200 meter-deep hole to reach deep ocean sediments.  The team then starting searching for clues for metabolism.

According to previous findings, deep sediments are some of the world’s harshest environments. These often exhibit inhabitable temperatures, and pressures often rise steadily in accordance with depth. Moreover, such areas embed scarce supply of energy. However, despite these tremendous challenges, microorganisms inhabit the seabed.

However, the reach of their existence was not well-understood. Moreover, the new study also aimed to answer some fundamental questions about survival in general. Questions like, what are the limits of life, and what factors determine them? According to the researchers, drilling deep in the ocean sediments is necessary to study low-energy deep biosphere.

Study May Guide Outer Space Research

The study also brings up interesting questions about life in outer space, in possible expeditions like Mars. According to the study, the inhabitable nature of the ocean sediments can provide clues that life on planets like Mars may exist despite primary assumptions to the contrary. Mars, and many other outer planets exhibit habits which are extremely harsh, and pressures which seem inhabitable.

Related: New Space Race for the Moon Intensifying

Researchers also believe the technological prowess to drill deep, and make discoveries in the deep ocean sediment is another fascinating insight. They also revealed that breads of ocean floor were found to be lifeless in some intervals. However, when they dug deeper into the floor, they again found microbial activity with temperatures of upto 120 degree.

The experiment may prove to be the beginning of discovery of new life in the ocean bed. Hopefully, it would also mean ways to preserve life with new technologies, and an ocean full of new discoveries.

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