Navigation Links
Hot meets cold at new deep-sea ecosystem: 'Hydrothermal seep'
Date:3/7/2012

Decades ago, marine scientists made a startling discovery in the deep sea. They found environments known as hydrothermal vents, where hot water surges from the seafloor and life thrives without sunlight.

Then they found equally unique, sunless habitats in cold areas where methane rises from seeps on the ocean bottom.

Could vents and seeps co-exist in the deep, happily living side-by-side?

No one thought so. Until now.

That's exactly what researchers uncovered during a submersible expedition off Costa Rica. They've coined a new term to describe the ecosystem: a hydrothermal seep.

A description of the scientists' findings, including a large number of deep-sea species that previously had not been described, is published in a paper by Lisa Levin of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, Calif., and colleagues.

The paper appears in the March 7, 2012, issue of the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.

Levin and the team were surprised to find a hybrid site in an area where only cold seeps had been reported.

"The discovery shows that we still have much to learn about hydrothermal vents and methane seeps and about the vast depths of the oceans," said David Garrison, director of the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Biological Oceanography Program, which funded the research.

"We need to re-think the boundary," he said, "of where a vent begins or a seep ends."

The most interesting aspects of the site, said Levin, "are the presence of vent-like and seep-like features together, a vast cover of tubeworms across large areas, and a wealth of new species."

Called Jaco Scar, the site lies at a tectonic plate margin off Costa Rica. There an underwater mountain, or seamount, is moving under the tectonic plate.

Jaco Scar's animals range from those that inhabit hot vents or cold seeps, to species that exist in both settings.

In addition to tube worms, the team documented deep-sea fish, mussels, clam beds and high densities of crabs.

Because so little is known about the deep ocean, the researchers say it's likely that other hybrid or "mosaic" ecosystems remain undiscovered, possibly with marine life specialized to live in such environments.

"Plenty of surprises are left in the deep sea," said Levin. "There are new species, and almost certainly new ecosystems, hidden in the oceans."

The human presence in Alvin, a submersible, deep-diving research craft was key to the findings.

"The site had been visited by other researchers using remotely-operated vehicles," said Levin, "but it wasn't until human eyes saw shimmering water flowing under a tubeworm 'bush' that we really understood how special Jaco Scar is."


'/>"/>

Contact: Cheryl Dybas
cdybas@nsf.gov
703-292-7734
National Science Foundation
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. A new journal where molecular biology meets clinical research
2. Where optics meets medicine
3. Georgia Stem Cell Initiative meets on MCG campus Feb. 10
4. Climate change meets ocean life in new northeast research institute
5. Egg meets sperm: The female side of the story
6. Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee meets Nov. 2-3 in Santa Barbara
7. Plant biology meets up with computational wizardry
8. Genetics meets metabolomics
9. Researchers study acoustic communication in deep-sea fish
10. New deep-sea observatory goes live
11. New deep-sea coral discovered on NOAA-supported mission
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Hot meets cold at new deep-sea ecosystem: 'Hydrothermal seep'
(Date:1/27/2016)...  Rite Track, Inc. a leading semiconductor equipment and ... Ohio announced today the acquisition of PLUS LLC. ... Austin, Texas , will significantly bolster ... installations and technical support offerings for TEL Track Systems. ... "PLUS has provided world class service including refurbishment, enhancements ...
(Date:1/22/2016)... DUBLIN , Jan. 22, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... announced the addition of the "Global ... report to their offering. --> ... of the "Global Biometrics Market in ... offering. --> Research and ...
(Date:1/20/2016)... Calif. , Jan. 20, 2016  Synaptics ... of human interface solutions, today announced sampling of ... solution for wearables and small screen applications including ... as printers. Supporting round and rectangular shapes, as ... offers excellent performance with moisture on screen, while ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/8/2016)... 8, 2016  NanoViricides, Inc. (NYSE MKT: NNVC) (the "Company"), a ... Seymour , MD, MPH, will present information about the company,s programs ... in New York City . ... Windsor Room at 5:30PM EST. Registered attendees can request a one ... City . --> New York City ...
(Date:2/8/2016)... -- --> --> ... ultra-rapid Point-Of-Care (POC) molecular diagnostics company, today announces that it ... test to be launched on the Company,s io® platform. By ... test is now cleared for sale within the European Union. ... of the io® CT test signals a new era in ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... MANASSAS, Va. , Feb. 5, 2016 ... organization, is poised to assist the medical and life ... concerns around Zika Virus infection.   CDC ... --> Zika virus is a single-stranded ... also includes the West Nile, Dengue and Chikungunya Viruses. ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... 5, 2016 Amarantus BioScience Holdings, ... focused on developing products for Regenerative Medicine, Neurology and ... Disease Designation (RPDD) from the US Food and Drug ... MANF was previously granted orphan drug designation (ODD) by ... Amarantus BioScience Holdings, Inc. (OTCQB: AMBS), ...
Breaking Biology Technology: