The following lines are part of an article published by the San Daily Magazine.

San 1 can be divided in 2 basic ecosystems: A stormy outer cloud layer and a denser, calmer and water-rich layer below. In the clouds, only microorganisms can withstand the strong winds. Most of these are phototrophic, meaning they use the light of San to fuel their metabolism. They have special organelles filled with gas that ensure they will remain in the sunny area. The waste and remains of these organisms fall into the layer below, a dark place where little energy is available. While not completely liquid, this layer is much denser that the one above and thus most if its organisms have evolved akin to pelagic marine animals (as there is no surface for bentonic organisms). They feed on each other and the nutrients that fall from above, while others are content with whatever comes with the convection currents from further below, where the pressure is so high only extremophiles can survive. The organisms in this environment include heterotrophic and lithotrophic microorganisms, filter feeders, predators and parasites.

Occasionally, a storm forms in the superior layer, with its consequent eye. If this storm is far enough from the poles, organisms in the inferior layer will emerge to the sunny eye of the storm: it is here where you will see the beauty of the life in San 1 to its full extent. Spores and seeds that were just floating around hatch and new life emerges. One of the most impressive is what we have nicknamed a pneumopectine (or floating hair comb), an organism consisting on a long, thin body (up to 100 meters long) and thousands of threads hanging from it (each can reach a length of 200 meters). This pneumopectine will eat anything that its threads catch, each individually contracting to take the food to its body and eventually, to its mouth using a line of cillia. Using light to navigate, these animals float as high as they can to reach the rich layers above, full of those tasty phototrophic organisms. Once it is time to mate, they cover themselves in flashy colours and create beautiful patterns with their appendages; once they’ve found a suitable mate, they interchange unfertilized ovules in ovisacs (as they are hermaphrodites), and proceed to fertilize them. The “eggs” are more similar to seeds, with a hard casing and an embryo surrounded by nutritious tissue. These seeds will sink into the dark layer and wait for the next eye of the storm to fill their air pockets and raise again.

This is but an example of the rich biodiversity we can find the eyes of storms. There are hundreds of species that can emerge in such areas, and there are probably thousands we haven’t even seen yet. And while we’re certain the biodiversity in the dark layer is not as great, it’s still a vastly unexplored area. Here at the San Nature Organization we endorse further funding of research projects to unveil all the mysteries our planet hides.