Scientists Dropped Dead Gators to the Seafloor to See What Bites

It takes a lot to go from the bayou to the deep sea.

Craig McClain knows all about falls. He’s seen whale falls, shark falls, manta ray falls, even, on one occasion, a sea lion fall. In the nutritional wasteland of the deep sea, a fall—any big hunk of organic material that manages to sink—creates a temporary feast for nearby scavengers. In his work as executive director of the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium, McClain regularly creates wood falls, by deliberately dropping deciduous chunks to the bottom of the seafloor, just to see what bites and learn more about deep sea ecosystems. So it was almost surprising that it took McClain years of working in a Louisiana lab to consider one, rather obvious, question: What about a gator fall? Read more.

Tags: Biology