Marine biology

Wrecks of HMS Erebus and HMS Terror National Historic Site

When a ship sinks, it can become an artificial reef. Marine biologists and underwater archaeologists found that Erebus is home to a diversity of organisms from the region, including algae, sponges, and molluscs. Future study of Terror may well uncover a different suite of species, because it rests in a different location, in deeper, darker, and colder water. Analyzing the ecology of these artificial ecosystems will provide important information about what influences arctic marine life, and how marine organisms have influenced the wrecks.

Underwater archaeologists photographed and sampled organisms on and around Erebus to help understand how ocean ecosystems adapt. Biologists found 32 different species on Erebus. Most were returned to the sea—the rest will be studied for clues to how the ocean has changed in the past 150 years.

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