com/article/2012/11/28/us-usa-bacteria-antarctica-idUSBRE8AR19E20121128) under 70 feet of ice and in deep-sea vents
that spew hot sulfur.
Marine scientists studying life around deep-sea vents
have discovered that some hardy species can survive the extreme change in pressure that occurs when a research submersible rises to the surface.
While most deep-sea vents
are driven by volcanic heat under the ocean floor, and create an acidic environment in the surrounding ocean, the Lost City vents are formed by a reaction between mantle rocks and seawater, leading to an alkaline environment.
Lacking normal eyes, the shrimp have a light-sensing organ on their backs, presumably to help them navigate in the faint glow of the deep-sea vents
, said the study, published in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Communication.
And having found yet more "black smoker" vents on an undersea mountain nearby, the researchers suggest that deep-sea vents
may be more widespread around the world than anyone thought.
The discovery is the fourth made by the research team in three years, which suggests that deep-sea vents
may be more common in our oceans than previously thought.
The boiling water that gushes out from deep-sea vents
helps to nourish colonies of marine creatures.
Ever since deep-sea vents
were first discovered in 1977, they have yielded a treasure trove of scientific clues about how our planet's surface formed, how the oceans' chemistry works, even how life may have started on Earth.
Evidence of chemoautotrophic primary production at deep-sea vents
and seeps and ultrastructural and enzymatic studies of mussel gill tissue led to the conclusion that bathymodiolin mussels depend on chemoautotrophic endosymbiotic bacteria (thiotrophic and/or methanotrophic, Cavanaugh 1983, Fisher et al.
Some worms that live on deep-sea vents
can stand temperatures that most other animals on Earth won't tolerate.
Other topics include (for example) the history of ocean exploration, the ecosystems of deep-sea vents
, and the impact of humans on the health of the seas.
This is the first film ever to take an up-close look at deep-sea vents
and their ecosystems (all of the living and nonliving things that interact in an environment).