Tag Archives: hydrothermal vents

Online Science Expedition Brings Deep Sea Vents to the Computer Screen

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution’s ‘Dive and Discover’ Begins Jan. 2, 2014

Scientists and engineers using advanced technology and a unique robotic vehicle to study the deep sea will also be using their computers to interact with students, teachers, and the public about the research they are conducting.

Working along the East Pacific Rise, a mid-ocean ridge about 600 miles south of Manzanillo, Mexico, aboard the research vessel Atlantis, scientists from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and their colleagues will examine life in some of the most extreme environments on Earth—deep-sea hydrothermal vents. (more…)

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Google, Intel Founders Support Undersea Research by UMass Amherst Microbiologist

AMHERST, Mass. – When microbiologist James Holden of the University of Massachusetts Amherst launches new studies next month of the microbes living deep in the cracks and thermal vents around an undersea volcano, for the first time in his 25-year career his deep-sea research will not be funded by a government source.

Instead, Holden will be funded by philanthropists committed to supporting oceanographic research: The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation started by the co-founder of Intel and his wife, and the Schmidt Ocean Institute (SOI), started by Eric Schmidt of Google and his wife, Wendy. The Moores’ foundation is dedicated to advancing environmental conservation and scientific research, while the SOI supports oceanographic research projects that “help expand the understanding of the world’s oceans through technological advancements, intelligent observation and analysis, and open sharing of information.”  (more…)

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Newly discovered ocean plume could be major source of iron

Study reveals micronutrient riches rising from the Southern Mid-Atlantic Ridge

Scientists have discovered a vast plume of iron and other micronutrients more than 1,000 km long billowing from hydrothermal vents in the South Atlantic Ocean. The finding, soon to be published in the journal Nature Geoscience, calls past estimates of iron abundances into question, and may challenge researchers’ assumptions about iron sources in the world’s seas.

“This study and other studies like it are going to force the scientific community to reevaluate how much iron is really being contributed by hydrothermal vents and to increase those estimates, and that has implications for not only iron geochemistry but a number of other disciplines as well,” says Mak Saito, a WHOI associate scientist and lead author of the study. (more…)

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Mussels Cramped by Environmental Factors

The fibrous threads helping mussels stay anchored – in spite of waves that sometimes pound the shore with a force equivalent to a jet liner flying at 600 miles per hour – are more prone to snap when ocean temperatures climb higher than normal.

Emily Carrington, a University of Washington professor of biology, reported Saturday (Feb. 16) that the fibrous threads she calls “nature’s bungee cords” become 60 percent weaker in water that was 15 degrees F (7 C) above typical summer temperatures where the mussels were from. She spoke at the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Boston. (more…)

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Hot Meets Cold at New Deep-Sea Ecosystem: “Hydrothermal Seep”

*Habitats overlap at Jaco Scar in depths off Costa Rica*

Decades ago, marine scientists made a startling discovery in the deep sea. They found environments known as hydrothermal vents, where hot water surges from the seafloor and life thrives without sunlight.

Then they found equally unique, sunless habitats in cold areas where methane rises from seeps on the ocean bottom.

Could vents and seeps co-exist in the deep, happily living side-by-side? (more…)

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Clam Fields Found at Deep, Low-Temperature Mariana Vents

Scientists have marveled at the unusual life forms thriving at high temperature hydrothermal vents of the deep ocean.

Now the discovery of clam communities near lower temperature vents in the Mariana Trench is providing information about both the biogeography of the clams and the extent of the serpentinite vents that sustain them. (more…)

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NSF Announces Major Awards for Biodiversity Research, WHOI Scientists Selected

The 1977 discovery of deep-sea hydrothermal vent ecosystems that obtain energy through chemosynthesis rather than photosynthesis greatly expanded the perception of life on Earth. However, an understanding of their underlying microbiology and biogeochemistry still remains elusive.

A newly funded project, one of several major awards announced by the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Dimensions in Biodiversity research program, stands to change that through a multi-disciplinary, international collaborative research effort led by Associate Scientist Stefan Sievert of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. (more…)

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“Fool’s Gold” from The Deep is Fertilizer for Ocean Life

*Pyrite nanoparticles from hydrothermal vents are a rich source of iron in the deep sea*

Similar to humans, the bacteria and tiny plants living in the ocean need iron for energy and growth. But their situation is quite different from ours–for one, they can’t turn to natural iron sources like leafy greens or red meat for a pick-me-up.

So, from where does their iron come? (more…)

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