Filmmaker James Cameron piloted a submersible craft to the bottom of the Pacific Ocean’s Mariana Trench in March 2012. Preliminary findings from video taken during the expedition are helping scientists understand the area’s immense biodiversity, according to a release.
The trench – also known as the Challenger Deep – is the deepest known point in the ocean floor. Cameron’s solo dive to study the trench used a vertical-shaped craft that descended more quickly into the water, allowing it to have more time at the bottom. Its time spent in the trench was nine times longer than any previous expedition.
Early evaluations of the footage reveal giant amoebas (xenophyophores), sea cucumbers and shrimp-like crustaceans called amphipods. Scripps Institute of Oceanography – which aided in the expedition – is still evaluating images from the trench.