Syfy Insider Exclusive

Create a free profile to get unlimited access to exclusive videos, sweepstakes, and more!

Sign Up For Free to View
SYFY WIRE Jurassic World

Up to a Million Skate Eggs Found at Volcanic Underwater Nursery

The eggs are basically being swaddled in volcanic water.

By Cassidy Ward
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Jurassic World (streaming now on Peacock!) returned audiences to Isla Nublar, the famed home of Jurassic Park’s cloned dinosaurs. While the purveyors of Jurassic World succeeded in actually opening their park, something John Hammond never achieved, it was doomed to suffer the same fate as its predecessors. The scientists wanted history to repeat itself, and they got what they wanted.

When we came back for the sequel, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, the narrative stakes had flipped. Suddenly, the survival of the dinosaurs was threatened by a massive volcanic eruption and only Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) and Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) could save them. When volcanoes show up in real life, it’s usually a bad thing. There’s no easier way to ruin a pleasant afternoon than fresh-squeezed pyroclastic flow. For some animals in the deep sea, however, volcanoes aren’t a source of death, but a source of life, instead.

Making a Life on an Active Volcano

Researchers on the 2023 Northeast Pacific Deep-sea Expedition have recovered the first ever video evidence of a skate (a relative of sharks and rays) in the process of egg-laying. These seldom seen creatures typically live at depths between 800 and 2,900 meters (2,600 and 9,500 feet) beneath the ocean’s surface, off the western coast of North and Central America.

RELATED: 60 Million Fish Heat up the Antarctic Ice at World's Largest Breeding Site

The skates were found laying eggs along the mount of an underwater volcano off Canada’s Pacific coast, almost a mile underwater. Researchers had previously believed the volcano to be dormant and the waters nearly frozen, but new observations confirmed it remains active, pumping heat and nutrients into the surrounding waters.

Liz Hydrothermal Vent GETTY

The volcano itself stretches 1,100 meters (3,600 feet) into the water and is covered in thermal vents and deep-sea corals. Far from a cold dead place, the warm waters released by the volcano keep the area nice and warm, providing an undersea oasis for a wide variety of marine life, including Bathyraja spinosissima, otherwise known as the Pacific white skate.

Cherisse Du Preez, a marine biologist with the Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and lead researcher of the expedition, estimated the total number of skate eggs on the seamount at between 100,000 and a million, each measuring 0.5 meters (1.5 feet) in length, via Live Science. They also confirmed more than one species of skate using the warmed nursery grounds.

The gestation period for Pacific white skates can be as long as four years, and scientists believe the warmer waters around the seamount may help to speed up development. The presence of corals also provides some safety from predators, giving juvenile skates somewhere to hang their proverbial hats before they disappear into deeper waters.

Catch up on the Jurassic franchise streaming on Peacock or available for purchase from Universal Pictures.