20 Feb '12, 12am

Life goes on after deep sea vents go cold #deepsn

Life goes on after deep sea vents go cold #deepsn

MICROBE ZONING DISTRCTS: A chunk of rock where the microbes were found. Across this rock, various microbes set up 'neighborhoods' to survive and thrive, often with very different needs. (Photo: Katrina Edwards/WHOI) Volcanic seafloor vents that roar with the scalding heat of Earth's interior don't stay hot forever. Eventually, over hundreds or thousands of years, they flicker out and turn cold. Yet new research reveals that the action on these oases of life on the seafloor doesn't stop when the heat goes off. Life goes on in the frigid dark, but on a teeny scale. It turns out that large populations of bacteria live on expired vents, and these microbes are very different from those that thrive when the vents are piping hot, according to a study published this week in the journal mBio. Scientists found evidence that up to 2,000 different sorts of microbes were living in a sm...

Full article: http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/wilderness-resources/sto...

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