Hydrothermal Vents and Its Organisms

Topics: Hydrothermal vent, Chemosynthesis, Photosynthesis Pages: 1 (302 words) Published: November 5, 2012
Hydrothermal Vents and its Organisms!

A hydrothermal vent is a fissure in a planet's surface from which geothermally heated water issues. Hydrothermal vents are commonly found near volcanically active places, areas where tectonic plates are moving apart, ocean basins, an hotspots Hydrothermal vents exist because the earth is both geologically active and has large amounts of water on its surface and within its crust. Common land types include hot springs, fumaroles and geysers. Under the sea, hydrothermal vents may form features called Black Smokers. The areas around submarine hydrothermal vents are biologically more productive. Chemosynthetic archaea form the base of the food chain, supporting diverse organisms, including giant tube worms clams, limpets, and shrimp.

Hydrothermal vent communities are able to have such vast amounts of life because vent organisms depend on chemosynthetic bacteria for food. The water that comes out of the hydrothermal vent is rich in dissolved minerals and supports a large population of chemo-autotrophic bacteria. These bacteria use sulfur compounds, a chemical highly toxic to most known organisms, to produce organic material through the process of chemosynthesis. The chemosynthetic bacteria grow into a thick mat which attracts other organisms such as amphipods and copepods which graze upon the bacteria directly. Larger organisms such as snails, shrimp, crabs, tube worms, fish, and octopuses form a food chain of predator and prey relationships above the primary consumers. The main families of organisms found around seafloor vents are annelids, poginophorans, gastropods, and crustaceans .

Hydrothermal vents in the deep ocean typically form along the Mid- ocean ridges, such as the East Pacific Rise and the Mid- Atlantic Ridge. These are locations where two tectonic plates are diverging and new crust is being formed. The hydrothermal vents contains many organisms. Some of the organisms are actually dependent upon oxygen...
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