Wildlife of a black smoker

Meet the in­hab­i­tants of hy­dro­ther­mal vents

World of Animals - - Contents - Words Ella Carter

Deep at the bot­tom of the ocean, in pitch black­ness, un­der crush­ing pres­sure and swim­ming in a cock­tail of toxic chem­i­cals flour­ishes an oa­sis of alien life. The biomass equiv­a­lent to a rain­for­est, out of the bleak silty plains of the ocean floor sud­denly rise gi­ant chim­neys that spew bil­lows of su­per­heated wa­ter into the freez­ing sea. Sur­round­ing them is one of the most unique com­mu­ni­ties of an­i­mals on the planet. Flashes of colour, flur­ries of ac­tiv­ity and a com­plex food web are not sup­ported by the life-giv­ing sun­light that we are used to on the sur­face but by the nu­tri­ents that seep from within the cen­tre of the Earth. Wel­come to the shad­ows of the hy­dro­ther­mal vents.

Ac­tive Un­con­firmed

When look­ing at a world map of vent lo­ca­tions it’s easy to see how they track the bor­ders of tec­tonic plates

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