whale fall
n. A whale carcass that has fallen to the ocean floor and now supports a wide variety of marine organisms.
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The scientific goal of the burial at sea was to create a place that researchers can spend years monitoring the biology of a "whale fall."
—Mike Lee, “Whale almost didn't sink with 14,000 pounds,” The San Diego Union-Tribune, December 04, 2011
Scripps scientists, in association with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, discovered the worms living upon whale carcasses that had fallen to the ocean floor off Monterey, Calif. These "whale falls" spawn unique communities of marine animals that can feed off the carcass for decades.
—Jessica Crawford, “Help Name New Species of Deep-Sea Worms,” University of California at San Diego News, May 16, 2011
1989 (earliest)
Second, these "whale falls" had to be common enough to cover the vast area between vents densely and thus provide a practical route of traveling from one tiny spot to another in an enormous ocean.
—“Discover Volume 11,” Time, January 01, 1989