In 2009, Kerry McPhail descended Jacques Cousteau-style towards the Axial Volcano, inside the cramped, 30-year-old little submarine DSV Alvin, with a pilot and another scientist. Four hundred and eighty kilometres off the coast of Oregon, they were collecting tubeworms, bacterial mats and bivalves living near a deep sea volcanic vent. These samples could potentially yield new pharmaceutical compounds -- and in turn, new chemical cures and desperately needed antibiotics that are yet undiscovered.