The Deepest Point of the Mariana Trench is Teeming with Life
A robot sent to the the very bottom of the Mariana Trench has confirmed that even the deepest parts of the ocean are teeming with microbial life. The Challenger Deep was previously thought to be too hostile an environment for life to exist, but this provides evidence that extremeophile bacteria can exist in the near-freezing temperatures, immense pressures and complete darkness of the deepest ocean trenches.
Scientists sent a specially designed robot 11 km down to the floor of the Challenger Deep. This robot was equipped with sensors that allowed it to measure oxygen consumption in the sediment on the seafloor, a metric that is considered to be an indicator of life. They found a surprisingly high amount of oxygen consumption, indicating that the seafloor of the Challenger deep was teeming with micro-organisms, which feed off the waste products and decomposing matter that descend from ecosystems higher in the water column.
Read more @ Smithsonian.com and BBC Science.