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Montana State team finds rare oasis of life on floor of Yellowstone Lake
Date:10/4/2010

sehold refrigerator, the ROV is much smaller than the ROVs he built for exploring deep ocean environments, but it can do most of the same sampling, Lovalvo said. ROV's for deep ocean exploration can range from 1,000 pounds to almost 10,000. The ships that carry them are typically 225 to 300 feet long. The ROV for Yellowstone Lake weighed about 250 pounds. The R/V Cutthroat is about 28 feet long.

"I'd like to think that this (ROV) has and will continue to assist the National Park Service and the public in not only better understanding this truly amazing place, but also preserving it for future generations," said Lovalvo, who has been involved in Yellowstone research for 25 years.

Although he built rovers to explore the Titanic; the PT-109 boat made famous by former President John F. Kennedy; and features deep in the ocean, Lovalvo said he is committed to Yellowstone.

"Yellowstone is a very unique environment and one of the few places in the world where one can compare an inland, hydrothermally active lake to an active volcanic area of the ocean," he said.

The study produced other results that will be the focus of future scientific papers, Varley said. The researchers are currently writing five papers about their findings.

The Geobiology paper compared each vent to an island with its own chemistry and conditions. Future research may focus on genetic communication between those islands, Varley said.

Other MSU team members on the Yellowstone project were Rich Macur in the Inskeep lab; Scott Clingenpeel, a postdoctoral researcher with McDermott; and Stephanie McGinnis, a conservation biologist with the Big Sky Institute. Team members from elsewhere were Lovalvo; Janice Glime from Michigan Technological University and K. Nealson from the University of Southern California and the JC Venter Institute in California.

Yellowstone National Park is required to document the park's biodiversity, and the broader stud
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Contact: Evelyn Boswell
evelynb@montana.edu
406-994-5135
Montana State University
Source:Eurekalert

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