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Mariana trench is teeming with microbial life, scientists say

The Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean has thriving bacterial communities that feast on dead animals and algae that fall there.

Mariana trench mapEnlarge
The deepest ocean trench, the Mariana Trench, is packed with microbial life says new research that looked at sediment and oxygen levels collected by a deep-ocean probe. (Wikipedia/Wikimedia commons)

The deepest ocean trench is teeming with microbial life says new research.

The Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean has thriving bacterial communities that feast on dead animals and algae that fall there.

Scientists said the new finding is unlocking the mysteries of the most remote place on Earth.

"The deep sea trenches are some of the last remaining ‘white spots’ on the world map," said study author Ronnie Glud at the University of Southern Denmark, reported AFP.

"We know very little about what is going on down there or which impact the deep sea trenches have on the global carbon cycle as well as climate regulation."

More from GlobalPost: Director James Cameron first to reach Earth's deepest point

The findings were made after an unmanned probe was sent to the ocean depths to measure oxygen in 2010.

High levels of oxygen found suggest a large amount of microbial life.

Researchers said that the findings may even have implications for climate change.

"The fact that large amounts of organic matter that contain the carbon accumulate and are focused in these trenches also means they play an important role in the removal of carbon from the ocean and the overlying atmosphere," marine researcher Richard Turnewitsch, of the Scottish Association for Marine Science, told the BBC.

The international team of scientists also collected sediment in the trench, which was analyzed under the sea as they would die if brought to the surface, said the Los Angeles Times.

Director James Cameron became the first person to go to the bottom of the Mariana Trench last year.

The findings were published in the journal Nature Geoscience.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/science/130318/mariana-trench-teeming-microbial-life-scientists-say