Ocean's Deep, Dark Trenches to Get Their Moment in the Spotlight

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Science  13 Apr 2012:
Vol. 336, Issue 6078, pp. 141-143
DOI: 10.1126/science.336.6078.141

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Deep-sea trenches have lured explorers for decades, tantalizing them with glimpses of an ecosystem shrouded in darkness. In the latest to attempt to pierce the gloom, movie director James Cameron last month took his privately built one-man submersible 10,000 meters down to the deepest point on Earth: the Challenger Deep in the Pacific Ocean's Mariana Trench. Although Cameron's journey to the abyss yielded little new scientific data, it whetted the public appetite for information about life in the otherworldly environments of deep-sea trenches. An international group of marine scientists may soon provide a feast of such data, from the first major systematic study of a deep-sea trench.