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Life between grains

by AE Migotto, M Di Domenico, F Gallucci & G Fonseca

About 90% of the ocean floor is made of sediments, which include grains of mud, sand and gravel which are constantly moved by the action of currents, tides and waves. This apparently uninhabited environment reveals an enormous diversity of life forms. In the tiny space between the sediment grains there is an abundant and diverse fauna, invisible to the naked eye. They are small organisms, smaller than 1 mm, termed as meiofauna. 
Approximately 15,000 meiofauna species are described. It is estimated that the real number could be 100 times higher, as only a small fraction of the ocean floor has been studied. There are still many discoveries to be made and much to learn with these microscopic organisms. 

The video was recorded at the Marine Biology Center of University of São Paulo ( on the coastal region São Sebastião, state of São Paulo, Brazil, 
More images of meiofaunal organisms and marine creatures in general can be found at Cifonauta -- Marine Image Database (
Support: CNPq - Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico, Edital MCT/CNPq nº 42/2007 - Difusão e Popularização da C&T (processo nº 551951/2008-7).
Realization: Marine Biology Center, University of São Paulo -- CEBIMar, and Center for Marine Biodiversity -- NP-BioMar.

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