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Short Video: Tubeworms

by Pearson
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These large tube-dwelling worms were filmed at the Galapagos Rift in the Pacific Ocean. Some may reach more than one meter in length. Tubeworms like these were first seen in the late 1970s, when scientists discovered an unusual assemblage of animals living on the sea bottom in the vicinity of hydrothermal vents. About a dozen prokaryotic species found here are chemoautotrophs, which are capable of carrying out synthesis of organic compounds using energy derived from chemical oxidation of hydrogen sulfide, rather than from light. The massive amount of hydrogen sulfide formed at these regions allows these chemoautotrophic bacteria to serve as the basis for an incredibly diverse community of unusual animals. Many of these animals and bacteria have formed symbiotic relationships: the animals harbor the bacteria inside their bodies, and the bacteria provide organic compounds as nourishment for their hosts. The large tubeworms shown here were so unusual in structure that they were assigned their own novel phylum. Credit: National Geographic.
These large tube-dwelling worms were filmed at the Galapagos Rift in the Pacific Ocean. Some may reach more than one meter in length. Tubeworms like these were first seen in the late 1970s, when scientists discovered an unusual assemblage of animals living on the sea bottom in the vicinity of hydrothermal vents. About a dozen prokaryotic species found here are chemoautotrophs, which are capable of carrying out synthesis of organic compounds using energy derived from chemical oxidation of hydrogen sulfide, rather than from light. The massive amount of hydrogen sulfide formed at these regions allows these chemoautotrophic bacteria to serve as the basis for an incredibly diverse community of unusual animals. Many of these animals and bacteria have formed symbiotic relationships: the animals harbor the bacteria inside their bodies, and the bacteria provide organic compounds as nourishment for their hosts. The large tubeworms shown here were so unusual in structure that they were assigned their own novel phylum. Credit: National Geographic.