Readers ask: How Did Mussels Colonize Deep Sea Vents?

How do deep sea vents get colonized?

The majority of vent animals release microscopic larvae that are carried by ocean currents. If some of these larvae survive long enough to reach another hydrothermal vent, they may settle on the seafloor, grow into adults, and colonize a new vent.

What are vent mussels?

Mussels. Mussels are very late to colonize hydrothermal vent sites. They clump together in cracks in the seafloor. Symbiotic bacteria live in the mussels ‘ gills. Like the microbes living inside tubeworms, these bacteria use energy from chemicals in the vent fluids to produce sugars.

How do deep sea vents survive?

‘ The food chain at these ocean oases relies on a core process called chemosynthesis, which is carried out by bacteria. This is similar to photosynthesis used by plants on land, but instead of using light energy from the Sun, the bacteria use chemicals drawn from the vent fluid.

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How do organisms live in hydrothermal vents?

Organisms that live around hydrothermal vents don’t rely on sunlight and photosynthesis. Instead, bacteria and archaea use a process called chemosynthesis to convert minerals and other chemicals in the water into energy.

What are some hypotheses for how newly formed vents are colonized?

The two dominant hypotheses are: (1) there is a well-mixed pool of larvae that colonize new vents (similar to the “everything is everywhere” hypothesis about microbial distribution I pondered here), and (2) vent communities are created from larvae supplied by local populations through migration.

What was the first species to colonize a thermal vent?

Pioneer colonists included two gastropod species: Ctenopelta porifera, which was new to the vent field, and Lepetodrilus tevnianus, which had been rare before the eruption but persisted in high abundance afterward, delaying and possibly out-competing the ubiquitous pre-eruption congener L. elevatus.

Do mussels eat bacteria?

Diet: Mussels filter their food out of the water. They eat algae, bacteria, and other small, organic particles filtered from the water column. Life history: The larvae of these mussels are parasites on the gills and fins of freshwater fishes, including darters, minnows and bass.

What is the diet of the Pink vent fish?

The pink vent fish is at the top of the food chain here, but prefers to go after the smallest prey. While it mostly eats the tiny limpets that attach themselves to the tube worms, this fish will also eat amphipods, copepods, and the occasional snail.

Why are Tubeworm plumes red?

Plume The plume is bright red because it is filled with blood. The plume filters oxygen, hydrogen sulfide, and carbon dioxide from the seawater. Like human blood, tube worm blood contains hemoglobin, a protein that carries oxygen. It is the hemoglobin that turns the blood red.

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Why do hydrothermal vents die?

They become inactive when seafloor-spreading moves them away from the rising magma or when they become clogged. Some vent fields may remain active for 10,000 years, but individual vents are much shorter-lived.

How old are hydrothermal vents?

Many scientists think life got its start around 3.7 billion years ago in deep-sea hydrothermal vents.

What is the source of energy for the life in deep ocean trenches where sunlight does not reach?

Answer: Instead of sunlight, vent life relies on hydrogen sulfide – more commonly known as rotten egg gas and toxic to most land-based life. In a process called chemosynthesis, specialized bacteria create energy from the hydrogen sulfide present in the mineral-rich water pouring out of the vents.

What comes out of hydrothermal vents?

A venting black smoker emits jets of particle-laden fluids. The particles are predominantly very fine-grained sulfide minerals formed when the hot hydrothermal fluids mix with near-freezing seawater. These minerals solidify as they cool, forming chimney-like structures.

What eats bacteria in hydrothermal vents?

Like plants and algae on land and in shallow waters, the vent microbes are the primary producers in their food web and are eaten by larger animals. Bottom feeders like limpets graze on microbial mats up to three centimeters thick, and suspension feeders like mussels feed on bacteria floating in the water.

How deep are hydrothermal vents?

These scientists located and sampled water from active hydrothermal vents at 2000 meters depth. Part of the reason it took so long to find them is because hydrothermal vents are quite small (~50 meters across) and are usually found at depths of 2000 m or more.

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