Navigation Links
Life discovered on dead hydrothermal vents
Date:1/24/2012

Scientists at USC have uncovered evidence that even when hydrothermal sea vents go dormant and their blistering warmth turns to frigid cold, life goes on.

Or rather, it is replaced.

A team led by USC microbiologist Katrina Edwards found that the microbes that thrive on hot fluid methane and sulfur spewed by active hydrothermal vents are supplanted, once the vents go cold, by microbes that feed on the solid iron and sulfur that make up the vents themselves.

These findings based on samples collected for Edwards by US Navy deep sea submersible Alvin (famed for its exploration of the Titanic in 1986) provide a rare example of ecological succession in microbes.

The findings were published today in mBio in an article authored by Edwards, USC graduate researcher Jason Sylvan, and Brandy Toner of the University of Minnesota.

Ecological succession is the biological phenomenon whereby one form of life takes the place of another as conditions in an area change a phenomenon well-documented in plants and animals.

For example, after a forest fire, different species of trees replace the older ones that had stood for decades.

Scientists have long known that active vents provided the heat and nutrients necessary to maintain microbes. But dormant vents lacking a flow of hot, nutrient-rich water were thought to be devoid of life.

Hydrothermal vents are formed on the ocean floor with the motion of tectonic plates. Where the sea floor becomes thin, the hot magma below the surface creates a fissure that spews geothermally heated water reaching temperatures of more than 400 C.

After a (geologically) brief time of actively venting into the ocean, the same sea floor spreading that brought them into being shuffles them away from the hotspot. The vents grow cold and dormant.

"Hydrothermal vents are really ephemeral in nature," said Edwards, professor of biological sciences at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.

Microbial communities on sea floor vents have been studied since the vents themselves were first discovered in the late 1970s. Until recently, little attention had been paid to them once they stopped venting, though.

Sylvan said he would like to take samples on vents of various ages to catalogue exactly how the succession from one population of microbes to the next occurs.

Edwards, who recently returned from a two-month expedition to collect samples of microbes deep below the ocean floor, said that the next step will be to see if the ecological succession is mirrored in microbes that exist beneath the surface of the rock.

"The next thing is to go subterranean," she said.


'/>"/>
Contact: Robert Perkins
perkinsr@usc.edu
213-740-9226
University of Southern California
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Mysterious monkey re-discovered in Borneo
2. Extinct monkey rediscovered in Borneo by new expedition
3. How poor maternal diet can increase risk of diabetes -- new mechanism discovered
4. A new wild ginger discovered from the evergreen forest of Western Ghats of South India
5. How poor maternal diet can increase risk of diabetes - new mechanism discovered
6. Lost world discovered around Antarctic vents
7. Discovered the existence of neutrophils in the spleen
8. Plant-eating dinosaur discovered in Antarctica
9. Worlds smallest frogs discovered in New Guinea
10. Early lineage of Larkspur and Monkshood plants rediscovered in Southern Europe
11. New tick-borne disease discovered in Gothenburg
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/30/2017)... 30, 2017 Today, American Trucking Associations ... of face and eye tracking software, became the ... program. "Artificial intelligence and advanced ... monitor a driver,s attentiveness levels while on the ... to detect fatigue and prevent potential accidents, which ...
(Date:5/16/2017)... , May 16, 2017   Bridge ... health organizations, and MD EMR Systems , ... development partner for GE, have established a partnership ... Portal product and the GE Centricity™ products, including ... EMR. These new integrations will ...
(Date:4/17/2017)... , April 17, 2017 NXT-ID, Inc. ... company, announces the filing of its 2016 Annual Report on Form ... Exchange Commission. ... Form 10-K is available in the Investor Relations section of the ... on the SEC,s website at http://www.sec.gov . 2016 ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... , ... AMRI, a global contract research, development and manufacturing ... and quality of life, will now be offering its impurity solutions as a ... requirements for all new drug products, including the finalization of ICH M7 earlier ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... ... its endogenous context, enabling overexpression experiments and avoiding the use of exogenous expression ... guides is transformative for performing systematic gain-of-function studies. , This complement to ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 11, 2017 , ... ... pathology, announced today it will be hosting a Webinar titled, “Pathology is going ... Pathology Associates , on digital pathology adoption best practices and how Proscia improves ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... Tbilisi, Georgia (PRWEB) , ... October 11, 2017 , ... ... disaster, taking the lives of over 5.5 million people each year. Especially those living ... the greenovative startup Treepex - based in one of the most pollution-affected countries globally ...
Breaking Biology Technology: