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:4/26/2016)... LONDON , April 26, 2016 ... a product subsidiary of Infosys (NYSE: ... to integrate the Onegini mobile security platform with ... http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20151104/283829LOGO ) The integration will ... to access and transact across channels. Using this ...
(Date:4/15/2016)... 15, 2016 Research and ... Biometrics Market 2016-2020,"  report to their offering.  , ... , ,The global gait biometrics market is expected ... the period 2016-2020. Gait analysis generates ... be used to compute factors that are not ...
(Date:3/31/2016)... , March 31, 2016  Genomics firm Nabsys ... founding CEO, Barrett Bready , M.D., who returned ... of the original technical leadership team, including Chief Technology ... of Product Development, Steve Nurnberg and Vice President of ... to the company. Dr. Bready served as ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016   Boston Biomedical , an industry ... to target cancer stemness pathways, announced that its ... Drug Designation from the U.S. Food and Drug ... including gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) cancer. Napabucasin is an ... cancer stemness pathways by targeting STAT3, and is ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... SPRING, Md. , June 23, 2016 A ... collected from the crime scene to track the criminal down. ... and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) uses DNA ... Sound far-fetched? It,s not. The ... genome sequencing to support investigations of foodborne illnesses. Put as ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... Charm Sciences, ... microbial test has received AOAC Research Institute approval 061601. , “This is another ... year,” stated Bob Salter, Vice President of Regulatory and Industrial Affairs. “The Peel ...
(Date:6/23/2016)...  The Biodesign Challenge (BDC), a university competition that ... living systems and biotechnology, announced its winning teams at ... New York City . The teams, ... at MoMA,s Celeste Bartos Theater during the daylong summit. ... curator of architecture and design, and Suzanne Lee ...
Breaking Biology Technology: