Bacteria Live in the Titanic Wreck

Rusticles on the HMS Titanic cover the hanging stern.
(Lori Johnston, NOAA)

The Titanic's sinking around 100 years ago created a new underwater habitat for organisms: the wreck itself. One of these is a species of bacteria -- named Halomonas titanicae after the great ship -- that lives inside icicle-like growths of rust, called "rusticles." These bacteria eat iron in the ship's hull and they will eventually consume the entire ship, recycling the nutrients into the ocean ecosystem. Check out this video of the Titanic wrecksite to see more rusticles up close and read five questions with Dr. Robert Ballard, the explorer who discovered the sunken ship.