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The Philippine Trench and its Bottom Fauna


VERY little is known about animal life in the greatest ocean depths; only two previous hauls seem to have been made below 6,000 metres. In 1899 the U.S. Fish Commission steamer Albatross obtained siliceous sponges in the Tonga Trench at 4,173 fm. or 7,632 metres1. A similar deep haul was not made until 1948 when the Swedish Deep Sea Expedition trawled holothurians, a fragment of a polychæte, an isopod and a few amphipods in the Porto Rico Trench at depths between 7,625 and 7,900 metres2. I can, now report that in July the Danish Deep Sea Expedition of 1950–52 in the research ship Galathea obtained living animals of several phyla from a depth of greater than 10,000 metres in the Philippine Trench, more than 2,000 metres below previous known occurrences.

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  1. Agassiz, Amer. J. Sci., (4), 9, 193 (1900).

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  2. Nybelin, Festskrift för Herbert Jacobsson, Göteborg, 1949, and Reports of the Swedish Deep Sea Expedition (in the press) (Göteborg, 1951).

  3. Matthews, “Tables of the Velocity …”, Hydrographlc Department, Admiralty (2nd edit., London, 1939).

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  4. Hess and Buell, Trans. Amer. Geophys. Union, 31 (1950).

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BRUUN, A. The Philippine Trench and its Bottom Fauna. Nature 168, 692–693 (1951).

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