Deep Sea Food Chains

Howe, Grant, Wilbur, Mahoney

Question Answer
What are deep sea hydrothermal vents? Why are such vents able to support large complex communities of organisms. Where are they found? Why were scientists surprised to find such communities? Deep sea hydrothermal vents are actually geysers that are under water.  These vents are created near mid-ocean ridges or mountain side that are under the ocean as a result of volcanic activity.  These vents are also able to support life due to the high energy chemical compounds in the water. Bacteria found in the organisms surrounding the vent and in the vents themselves use chemosynthesis to make food out of these compounds.  These organisms get food from a  chemical reaction instead of the sun..  Scientists were surprised to find communities in the deep sea because they thought that you need sun light to survive. These were the first complex communities of living things ever found that depend on chemosynthesis instead of photosynthesis..
Where was the first such vent discovered? How was it discovered? The first  hydrothermal vent were discovered in 1977 near the Galapagos Islands by a Geologic survey team from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute while looking for deep sea volcanoes. Studies on the symbiotic life was started in 1979. Also the maps shows  the Vents around the world. hydrothermal-vents-c.jpg (31917 bytes)
What is the source of energy used to create food in this environment? How is this energy used to create food? The hot springs on the ocean floor contain high energy sulfur compounds. Chemosynthetic bacteria living in the vents and in the tissues of some of the organisms living around the vents use this energy to make food molecules. These chemosynthetic  bacteria form the base of a food chain
What kinds of organisms live in these communities? The kinds of organisms that live in these communities range from viperfish and rattails to tubeworms and foot long clams. Some of thes organisms (like the tube worms) feed directly of the Chemosynthetic bacteria. while others act as predator. Many of these organisms have bright red tissues containing Hemoglobin. These organisms used the hemoglobin to help the get oxygen in this environment. 
References: You should provide references for all of your answers and images.
Page Name URL
Department of Biology,Colgate University
Bacteria-animal symbioses from deep-sea hydrothermal vents in the Western Pacific Ocean oeko/eng/aggiere/hydro.html
Studies on the Physiological Ecology of Hydrothermal Vent Chemoautotrophic Symbioses - Childress Childres/Childres.htm
Deep Water Fish Species