This shrimplike creature makes aluminum armor to survive the deep seas crushing

first_img Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) The aluminum armor appears to both relieve stress from deep-sea pressures and prevent the amphipod exoskeletons from leaching calcium carbonate and disintegrating. Thanks to these findings, scientists are one step closer to understanding how it is possible to survive in one of the world’s harshest environments. Daiju Azuma/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA) This shrimplike creature makes aluminum armor to survive the deep sea’s crushing pressure Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country By Rachel FrittsApr. 30, 2019 , 12:20 PM Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Email Amphipods—small, shrimplike crustaceans in most aquatic ecosystems—start to fall apart once they hit depths of 4500 meters. There, a combination of crushing pressures, low temperature, and higher acidity causes the calcium carbonate in their exoskeletons to dissolve, making them vulnerable to pressure and predators. Now, scientists have discovered how one species, Hirondellea gigas, can survive in the deepest part of the ocean: with aluminum suits of armor.Researchers first analyzed H. gigas specimens found at the bottom of the Challenger Deep, more than 10,000 meters below the surface of the ocean. They found that this extreme amphipod constructs a personal suit of armor—a layer of aluminum hydroxide gel covering the surface of its exoskeleton. But aluminum isn’t abundant in ocean water, making it hard to source as a building material. It is, however, abundant in ocean sediment.To figure out how H. gigas accesses its aluminum, the team exposed sediment from the Challenger Deep—which the crustacean likely swallows when eating—to chemicals in its gut. Within that acidic environment, a byproduct of the plants in its typical diet reacts with the metal-rich sediment to free up aluminum ions. When these aluminum ions are released into alkaline seawater, they transform into protective aluminum hydroxide gel, the researchers report this month in PLOS ONE.last_img read more