Watch: How Life Thrives Without Sunlight

| Fri Dec. 16, 2011 9:00 AM EST

This post courtesy BBC Earth. For more wildlife news, find BBC Earth on Facebook and Posterous.

Without sunlight, life on Earth would not exist. Every organism that has evolved on the surface of this planet has received energy either directly or indirectly from the sun.

Even creatures that lie at the depths of our oceans and have never felt the sun's rays can not only survive but also flourish thanks to solar energy. For example, 120 kilometers off California's coast and 1,250 meters under water thrives a diverse ecosystem in complete darkness. Rising up 2,280 meters from the seafloor, the Davidson Seamount, an underwater mountain, is an unlikely "oasis in the deep."

Corals and other marine invertebrates make up 95 percent of life in the oceans and are responsible for a tenth of the planet's land.Corals and other marine invertebrates make up 95 percent of life in the oceans and are responsible for a tenth of the planet's land.

Thought to have formed between 9 and 15 million years ago from volcanic eruptions, the ancient seamount is home to some of the slowest growing communities in the ocean. Here, the Paragorgia arborea (more commonly known as pink-bubblegum coral) grows to over three meters in height and is more than 100 years old.

How has the Davidson Seamount managed to sustain more biodiversity and a higher species count than that of its neighbouring seafloor?

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