Deep in the dark depths of the Gulf of California – where "virtually no oxygen" is present, live schools of fish live and thrive in an environment that would otherwise be fatal to marine biologists  Using a remote underwater robot in 2015, researchers at the San Diego Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute studied extreme environments during multiple dives in an area known as the Cerralvo Valley. And what they found was surprising: fields, grenadiers, cat sharks and lollipops all raved on the ocean floor.
The researchers recently published their findings in the journal Ecology.
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"I hardly believe my eyes," wrote Natalya Gallo, a student of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and part of the research group, in a blog post. "We observed that [fish] was active in areas where the oxygen concentration was less than one percent of typical surface oxygen concentrations."
Gallo said the low-oxygen habitat should have excluded fishes, instead the schools flourished there were "hundreds" of them.
The remote vehicle used instruments to measure various environmental factors up to 4,500 feet in depth, with the oxygen content in that part of the Gulf dropping "from one tenth to one fortieth." as low as those tolerated by other oxygen-free fish. "
The data stunned biologists who compared eels and other species with" Olympic athletes "to achieve their unique survival capabilities under such brutal conditions.
Scientists say discovery could lead to answers on the ability of marine animals, to adapt to a changing "chemistry" of the ocean.
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It is still unclear why or It is likely to be years before more definitive answers emerge, but the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute pointed out that field rains and cat sharks have large heads and gills to absorb and store of oxygen could be useful.
"We hope to get back to the Gulf soon and addressing some of these issues, "said marine biologist Jim Barry, who was part of the dive, in an online statement at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute.