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Behind The Story 

With every tale there is a little truth behind the myth. It's true that organized crime on the East Coast has been implicated in the illegal dumping of hazardous waste. Marathon, Florida actually has a Kilts in the Keys Festival and legends of mermaids cross cultures and continents so maybe...

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The city of Marathon, Florida was founded in 1999. It was named by Witter Bynner who was inspired by a passage from Byron "The mountains look on Marathon- and Marathon looks on the sea." 

Marathon is a popular sport fishing destination and boasts some of the most beautiful reefs in the Keys.

Marathon is also home to The Turtle Hospital and The Dolphin Research Center.

The tiny town has only 8.44 sq miles of land and just under 9,000 residents.

Marathon, Floria

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Dolphin Research center 

The Dolphin Research Center was founded in 1984 and throughout their long history of caring for marine mammals they have been pioneers in animal research and education.  Part of their mission statement is "To promote peaceful coexistence, cooperation and communication between marine mammals, humans and the environment we share through research and education."

The center has over 70,000 visitors a year. They offer research internships, educational camps, classes and fun, interactive experiences with their dolphin family.

 yeti crab 

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Kiwa hirsuta, or Yeti crab, was discovered in 2005. They are a newly discovered species of crab that live miles below the surface of the ocean around deep sea vents. The crabs are blind carnivores that live on the bacteria that survive by chemosynthesis.  

 

Most creatures on the earth live by photosynthesis, which is plants turning sunlight and oxygen into energy, however in the dark and oxygen poor environment of the deep sea, bacteria live by chemosynthesis. The bacteria oxidize the hydrogen sulfide pouring out of the deep sea vents, adding carbon dioxide and oxygen and turn it into sugar, sulfur and water.

 

Kiwa is the name of the divine Maori guardian of the ocean and hirsuta is “hairy” in Latin. The yeti crab reproduce by releasing larvae into ocean currents thus spreading their young into any area that can support their particular needs, any areas that are high in hydrogen sulfide.  

Methane Seeps

Methane gas is seeping out of the bottom of the sea on the Atlantic coast. These seeps are home to amazing ecosystems that rely on chemosynthesis.

 

The ecosystems on the surface of the earth rely on photosynthesis, plants turning sunlight and water into sugar. The foundation of the chemosynthetic ecosystem is bacteria that oxidize hydrogen sulfide, adding carbon dioxide and water to produce sugar, sulfur and water. These bacteria allow communities of strange organisms to survive in total darkness and at great depths.

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Image courtesy of the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, 2013 ROV Shakedown and Field Trials in the U.S. Atlantic Canyons.