Summary of “A Whale’s Afterlife”

To Rouse’s surprise, the whale had attracted no scavengers, despite its exposed rolls of dark purple muscle draped in white, translucent fat.
For denizens of the seafloor, a whale fall is like a Las Vegas buffet-an improbable bounty in the middle of the desert.
Inevitably, the scavengers had scattered pieces of flesh around the whale carcass, and native microbes had multiplied quickly around those scraps.
Whale falls may occur as frequently as every ten miles on the seafloor; at any given time, there are likely hundreds of thousands of them around the world.
Rouse’s team is monitoring a number of habitats around Rosebud to understand how they’re connected, and how deep-sea oases like whale falls and seeps might drive evolution.
Shana Goffredi, a biologist at Occidental College, was part of the team that first analyzed the Osedax worm in detail, at a whale fall in Monterey Canyon, around four hundred miles northwest of San Diego.
How long can a whale fall endure before it disappears? Eventually, creatures like Osedax will destroy most of the skeleton.
While studying whale falls in Monterey Canyon, Rouse and his colleagues expected that the oasis around a typical carcass might persist for a couple of decades, but Rouse also came to believe that some could disappear over a much shorter or longer period of time.

The orginal article.