Navigation Links
Some like it hot: Worms at deep-sea vents favor a fiery 45-55°C

Scientists have found that worms dwelling at deep-sea hydrothermal vents opt for temperatures of 45-55 degrees Celsius (113-131 degrees Fahrenheit) when given a choice of conditions, giving them the highest thermal preference of any animal studied to date. This unique preference for extreme temperatures may be the undersea worms' meal ticket, since they are apparently the only animals able to access -- and feast on -- lush mats of bacteria that thrive around deep-sea vents.

The research is described this week in the journal Science.

Authors Peter R. Girguis of Harvard University and Raymond W. Lee of Washington State University studied Paralvinella sulfincola, a member of the Alvinellidae family of worms dwelling at ocean depths of some 2,200 meters off the Pacific coast of Washington. When the researchers placed them within a special high-pressure seawater aquarium with a sharp temperature gradient, these worms chose to remain at roughly 50 degrees Celsius for the duration of a seven-hour experiment.

"This is far longer than animals have survived other thermo-tolerance studies, where scientists exposed individuals to high temperatures for 15 to 30 minutes, as long as it took for half of them to die," says Girguis, assistant professor of organismic and evolutionary biology in Harvard's Faculty of Arts and Sciences. "Unlike many animals found in hot habitats, which merely tolerate extreme temperatures, these worms actually prefer temperatures around 50 degrees Celsius."

Girguis likens the worms' deep-sea habitat to a pot of scalding water heating inside a freezer. At extreme undersea pressures, water will not boil, so deep-sea thermal vents jet out water that remains liquid at temperatures of up to 350 degrees Celsius (662 degrees Fahrenheit). Because the surrounding seawater is barely above freezing, a steep and variable temperature gradient exists around the thermal vents, making it difficult to measure precisely the deep-sea tempera tures survived by Alvinellid worms.

Rather than taking submarine-borne thermometers to the worms' remote habitat, Girguis and Lee brought the worms to their special aquarium, leaving the deep-sea creatures free to choose any temperature between 20 and 61 degrees Celsius (58 and 142 degrees Fahrenheit). When this thermal gradient was established, all the worms migrated to parts of the tank registering 45 to 55 degrees Celsius.

For seven hours the worms chose to remain at around 50 degrees Celsius, performing their normal behaviors. Other inhabitants of equally inhospitable environments are known to die fairly quickly under such conditions; in one previous study of desert fire ants, all died within one minute of exposure to a temperature of 55 degrees Celsius. Such ants will survive brief forays into similarly hot areas to obtain food, but do not choose to remain in superheated environs as Alvinellids do.

"We speculate that these worms have evolved to prefer and tolerate these temperatures because it allows them to graze on bacterial lawns that no other organism can access," Girguis says. "Bacteria can survive much higher temperatures than animals, and often grow in lush mats, or lawns, in areas too hot to support animal life."


'"/>

Source:Harvard University


Related biology news :

1. Research on Worms Yields Clues on Aging
2. Stealth Worms May Improve Insect Pest Control
3. Worms know bad food when they smell it
4. Worms produce surprise insight into human fever
5. Climatologists discover deep-sea secret
6. Sinkers provide missing piece in deep-sea puzzle
7. Drug discovery team to explore newly discovered deep-sea reefs
8. Giant deep-sea tubeworms meal ticket comes in as a skin infection
9. Extraordinary life found around deep-sea gas seeps
10. Ocean seep mollusks may share evolutionary history with other deep-sea creatures
11. Long-lived deep-sea fishes imperiled by technology, overfishing
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:4/5/2017)... 2017 KEY FINDINGS The global ... a CAGR of 25.76% during the forecast period of ... factor for the growth of the stem cell market. ... MARKET INSIGHTS The global stem cell market is ... geography. The stem cell market of the product is ...
(Date:3/30/2017)... The research team of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) ... ground breaking 3D fingerprint minutiae recovery and matching technology, pushing contactless ... use in identification, crime investigation, immigration control, security of access and ... ... A research team led by Dr Ajay Kumar ...
(Date:3/27/2017)... March 27, 2017  Catholic Health Services (CHS) ... Systems Society (HIMSS) Analytics for achieving Stage 6 ... sm . In addition, CHS previously earned a ... using an electronic medical record (EMR). ... level of EMR usage in an outpatient setting.  ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/27/2017)... ... April 27, 2017 , ... Oncolinx, a spin-out of the ... has truly taken their cancer research out of this world. On April 22, ... Canaveral to the International Space Station’s (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory, managed by the ...
(Date:4/27/2017)... ... April 27, 2017 , ... ... Summit ( http://www.paintherapeuticsummit.com ) is coming to San Diego, CA on September 27-28, ... to learn about the latest advances in the treatment of various types of ...
(Date:4/27/2017)... ... April 27, 2017 , ... Volunteers supported by ... researchers, engineers, and industry professionals in visiting U.S. Congressional offices in Washington, D.C., ... the world photonics industry. , This year, National Photonics Initiative (NPI) ...
(Date:4/26/2017)... DIEGO, CALIF. (PRWEB) , ... April 26, 2017 ... ... Day? Lajollacooks4u, San Diego’s premiere team-building and cooking events company, offers one-of-a-kind ... classes. , Menus specialize in California cuisine, and guests leave inspired with ...
Breaking Biology Technology: