The legacy and reach of anthropogenic influence is most clearly evidenced by its impact on the most remote and inaccessible habitats on Earth. Here we identify extraordinary levels of persistent organic pollutants in the endemic amphipod fauna from two of the deepest ocean trenches (>10,000 metres). Contaminant levels were considerably higher than documented for nearby regions of heavy industrialization, indicating bioaccumulation of anthropogenic contamination and inferring that these pollutants are pervasive across the world’s oceans and to full ocean depth.
The Kermadec and Mariana ‘HADES’ expeditions (RV Thomas G. Thompson TN309, and RV Falkor FK141109) were funded through the National Science Foundation (NSF-OCE nos 1130712 and 1140494) and the Schmidt Ocean Institute. S.B.P. was supported by a Fellowship from the Leverhulme Trust. The analytical costs were supported by the Total Foundation (France) and the Marine Alliance for Science and Technology, Scotland (MASTS) through a Deep Sea Forum small grant award.
Supplementary Tables 1–4