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Giant Tube Worms Get a Shout Out

Date: September 17, 2012

An unlikely and oft-overlooked member of the Galapagos ecosystem got some exciting recognition on Friday from a renowned oceanographer and marine archaeologist.  Dr. Robert Ballard is best-known for discovering some of history’s most infamous shipwrecks, including the Titanic, but he stated in an interview with HuffPost Science that he’s most proud of a discovery of an entirely different kind. That discovery took place during an expedition in 1977 to the Galapagos, during which Riftia pachyptila, or giant tube worms, were first described. These marine invertebrates can reach lengths of more than seven feet, and live around hydrothermal vents on the sea floor, an extreme environment inhospitable to many species.

Ballard is the subject of a new National Geographic Channel special called “Alien Deep with Bob Ballard” that explores one of the most fascinating and least explored habitats on earth – the deep oceans.  Click here to watch a clip from the special, which aired last weekend. (Photo credit: NOAA/Webb Pinner)

Matt Kareus

Matt is the Executive Director of IGTOA.


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