Hydrothermal Vent Communities


Deep‐sea hydrothermal vents are hydrogeological phenomena occurring on the deep ocean bottom, wherever it is a tectonically active area and heated waters reach the seafloor with significant temperatures and pressures. Specific animal communities are strongly associated with these hydrothermal areas, and unique trophic relationships are established among chemolithotrophic bacteria, clams and mussels.

Keywords: eubacteria; archaea; archaebacteria; thermophile; extremophile; ocean; sulfur; black smoker; Ocean Drilling Program (ODP); symbiont

Figure 1.

The manned submersible SHINKAI 2000 during launching and recovery operations. (With permission of JAMSTEC).

Figure 2.

An impression of hydrothermal vent area and representative associated organisms. (Modified after FOCUS magazine, geographic design: Mario Russo).

Figure 3.

A black smoker located at 1300 m depth along the Okinawa Trough. (With permission of JAMSTEC).

Figure 4.

A population of C. magnifica observed at the Okinawa Trough. (With permission of JAMSTEC).

Figure 5.

The tubeworm R. pachyptila typically found at the East Pacific Rise and the Guaymas Basin.

Figure 6.

Large populations of crabs and shrimps observed around hydrothermal vents during sampling procedures. (With permission of JAMSTEC).



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Further Reading

Adams MW (1993) Enzymes and proteins from organisms that grow near and above 100°C. Annual Review of Microbiology 47: 627–658.

Gage JD and Tyler PA (1998) Deep‐sea Biology: A Natural History of Organisms at the Deep‐sea Floor. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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How to Cite close
Canganella, Francesco(Sep 2006) Hydrothermal Vent Communities. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. http://www.els.net [doi: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0000396.pub2]