Scientists spend a lot of their time studying ecosystems above the water, but John Pohlman and David Brankovits have been working together to learn more about an ecosystem hidden within a labyrinth of underwater caves in the Yucatan Peninsula.
The researchers dive right in, swimming up to a kilometer into the caves to investigate what's happening down there. The cave is out of reach for sunlight, so the researchers take their own flashlights to see.
In addition to studying the diverse wildlife residing inside of these caves, the researchers collect water samples. Thus far, they've pointed out high levels of methane in the water, which appears to be coming from dissolved organic material on the jungle floor above.
We still have much to learn about this particular ecosystem, but studying it can potentially help us understand comparable environments around the world.