Sunday, September 13, 2009

Aliens of the Deep (2005) G - 3½ Stars

I think a better title for this documentary could have been Wonders of the Deep as it was not exactly what I had pictured in my mind but fascinating none the less. My childhood fantasy was to become a marine biologist. I made it as far as working in an animal hospital, but technology has come so far that now scientists are able to go to unimaginable depths, in order to explore how life survives there.

The Mid-Ocean Ridge is underwater mountain range which stretches 46,000 miles around the world. The mountains are created the same as on land when the tectonic plates push on top and underneath of each other. Magma from the earth's crust spews up through forming chimneys of forming extremely hot hydrothermal vents, that house some very unusual creatures. At about 7000 feet deep, and in the vast darkness and pressures of water, these creatures are able to live and thrive in chemical conditions most things could not. Crabs, shrimp and lipstick looking tube worms (Riftia pachyptila), all cling to these chemically poisonous environments. These tube worms can reach heights of 8 feet. With no mouths or stomachs, the Riftia worms have a symbiotic relationship with chemosynthesis. Bacteria live inside of them and use the chemicals that come from the vents to convert the product into food for the worm. Like we depend on photosynthesis for oxygen, these creatures rely on chemosynthesis to get their nutrients. The scientists study these unusual live styles, as a tool for studying what types of life might be forming or living now on other planets.

Walt Disney Pictures
Directors: James Cameron, Steven Quale
Producers: Andrew Wight, James Cameron
I viewed 1/09

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