Thousands of feet below the ocean’s surface, boiling hot plumes of seawater shoot like geysers into the abyss. There, some of the strangest life on Earth thrives. Thousands of white crabs with spindly legs creep along the seafloor. Eight-foot-long worms with bright red, mouthless heads poke out of white PVC-looking tubes. Massive golden octopuses float silently through the dark water. This may sound like the last place on Earth you’d want to go, but what happens in this bizarre ecosystem can have huge implications for the biological makeup of the rest of the ocean. So a team of scientists with the Sylvan Geomicrobiology Lab traveled to the ocean’s bottom last year to check them out.