More than 30 illustrated articles about deep-sea science at sea and on land.

Life in the Deep

Close-up of scaleworm jaws. Image courtesy of D. Desbruyeres.

Deep-sea creatures: scaleworms

Deep-sea scaleworms are a source of fascination to two particular biologists.

Acid-loving, heat-loving, deep-sea microbes

Some of the first-ever photos of these creatures.

Getting the lowdown on microbes

Investigating tiny organisms that live in water and rocks kilometers below the sea's surface.

Untangling tubeworms

Two very distinct types of worm… or are they?

A tale of two snails

Have researchers discovered a new species of deep-sea snail in the South Pacific?

Mussel mysteries

Investigating mussels, snails and other animals living near hot vents.

Simulating life down under

Special on-board aquaria help researchers learn how vent animals cope with a harsh environment.

Dispersal down deep

If deep-sea creatures like tubeworms and mussels are attached to the seafloor, how do they colonize new sites kilometers away?

Tools for Exploration

Crew work on Alvin. Image courtesy of J. Voordeckers.

Diving into the deep sea

Researchers need some hardy equipment to visit seafloor vents in person. The manned submersible Alvin has to cope with toxic, corrosive fluids, extreme temperatures and immense pressures.

Spotter subs

Pioneering biologist Tim Shank uses submersibles to home in on ocean-floor creatures.


Stitching together photos to form detailed images of seafloor structures and animals.

Sampling the seafloor

The submersible Jason II acts as scientists' eyes and hands.

Chemical cocktails

Investigating the make-up of vent fluid.

Eruption forensics

How do scientists detect eruptions at deep-sea volcanoes?

Discovery of a new vent site

Located in the South Pacific's Lau Basin.

Life On-board Ship & Personal Perspectives

Expedition life

Office workers on land may have a fire drill once or twice a year. But office buildings don't usually run the risk of sinking or being boarded by pirates. Expedition researchers and crew practice for such emergencies.

Preparing for departure

Liz Podowski of Penn State University records highlights from the final 48 hours before an expedition sails

Ship phototours: Kilo Moana

The Research Vessel Kilo Moana inside and out.

Ship phototours: Melville

A short tour of the R/V Melville (named after the 19th century explorer George Wallace Melville)

Weather at sea

How the ship's Captain and Mates keep the expedition on track and plan for bad weather

Livin' with rock 'n' roll

Weeks at sea in the South Pacific may sound like fun, but living and working on a ship in constant motion can be a real challenge.

Inventiveness: a key research skill

Especially when you're hundreds of miles from the nearest source of supplies.

Is it today, tomorrow or yesterday?

Shipboard journalist Kristen Kusek gets to grips with the International Dateline.

Garbage disposal at sea

Why proper disposal of waste matters to marine wildlife.

Graduate student Charlotte Goddard

Records impressions from her first ever research expedition to the South Pacific.

Paul Asimow

Gets a chance to go to sea for the first time in more than a decade of studying ocean rocks.

From the forest to the ocean

Amy Townsend-Small usually does fieldwork in the rainforests of the Amazon. So what was she doing on a ship in the middle of the Pacific Ocean?

Tongan observer aboard

On the hunt for seafloor vents, Sisi Tonganevai was a welcome addition to the research team.

The lure of Lau

Why researchers are fascinated by areas of the seafloor between Tonga and Fiji.


Volcanoes & Vents

How Does Magma Move and Rise Within the Earth?

How the magma moves beneath mid-ocean ridges will help scientists to better understand how the Earth's crust is formed and predict how, when and where volcanic eruptions may occur.

From fluids to solids

Discovering how mineral deposits form when hot vent fluid mixes with cold seawater.


Listening to earthquakes yields vital data about the formation of new seafloor.

Decoding rocks

Lava from the seafloor holds clues to major Earth processes.