Amphipods Have Aluminum Suits Of Armor To Survive In Dangerous Underwater Environment

Eddie Gonzales Jr. – – Sometimes when you find yourself in a harsh underwater environment you’ve got to protect yourself.

Amphipods, small, shrimp-like crustaceans living in most aquatic ecosystems are endangered when they reach depths of 4500 meters. A combination of high pressure, low temperature and higher acidity causes Amphipods’skeletons to dissolve and the small animal becomes a pray to other underwater creatures.

Amphipods Have Aluminum Suits Of Armor To Survive In Dangerous Underwater Environment

Daiju Azuma, Public Domain

Scientists have discovered that amphipod Hirondellea gigas can survive in the deepest regions of the oceans in extreme high-pressure conditions. How the amphipod  could live more than 10,000 meters below the surface of the ocean has long been a bit of a mystery.

Reporting in Plos One, researchers say Hirondellea gigas construct a personal suit of armor made of aluminum, as well as a major amount of calcium carbonate.

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In their study, the science team writesunlike other (accumulated) metals, aluminum was distributed on the surface of the exoskeleton. To investigate how Hgigas obtains aluminum, we conducted a metabolome analysis and found that gluconic acid/gluconolactone was capable of extracting metals from the sediment under the habitat conditions of Hgigas.

The extracted aluminum ions are transformed into the gel state of aluminum hydroxide in alkaline seawater, and this gel covers the body to protect the amphipod. This aluminum gel is a good material for adaptation to such high-pressure environments.”

Written by Eddie Gonzales Jr. – Staff Writer