Whale Carcasses Create Localized Ecosystems In The Abyssal Zone of the Ocean Floor When They Die!
When a whale dies in the middle of the ocean, this sinks into the bathyal or the abyssal zone of the ocean.
Then their carcasses naturally become localized ecosystems unlike bodies in shallow waters. If a whale dies in shallow waters, their body would be scavenged by other ocean dwellers.
This process is called a “whale fall”. Other deep-sea dwellers that have been seen around these localized ecosystems are: giant isopods, sleeper sharks, crabs, sea cucumbers, lobsters and many more. This was observed in the 1970’s by robotic exploration.
There are three stages of this ecosystem process of the whale fall. The first stage begins with the mobile scavengers where soft tissue is eaten from others like hagfish.
The second stage is when the animals colonize the bones and sediment around the carcass.
The third stage is when the break down happens in the bones but the bacteria does provide nourishment to some deep-sea dwellers including clams. This final stage can last up to 100 years.