Hydrothermal vent s are cracks in the ocean floor that emit jets of hot water loaded with minerals and bacteria. The vents range in diameter from less than an inch to mare than six feet. They are usually found at least a mile deep long the mid-ocean ridges. So far, several dozen vent fields have been discovered.
History[ edit ] Prior to the 19th century scientists assumed life was sparse in the deep ocean. In the s Sir Charles Wyville Thomson and colleagues aboard the Challenger expedition discovered many deep-sea creatures of widely varying types. The first discovery of any deep-sea chemosynthetic community including higher animals was unexpectedly made at hydrothermal vents in the eastern Pacific Ocean during geological explorations Corliss et al.
The depression is named after HMS Challenger, whose researchers made the first recordings of its depth on 23 March at station The reported depth was 4, fathoms meters based on two separate soundings.
At this great depth a small flounder-like fish was seen moving away from the spotlight of the bathyscaphe. Nereusa hybrid remotely operated vehicle HROV of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institutionis the only vehicle capable of exploring ocean depths beyond meters.
Nereus reached a depth of 10, meters at the Challenger Deep on May 31, The sonar system uses phase and amplitude bottom detection, with an accuracy of better than 0. Nearly all life forms in the ocean depend on the photosynthetic activities of phytoplankton and other marine plants to convert carbon dioxide into organic carbonwhich is the basic building block of organic matter.
Photosynthesis in turn requires energy from sunlight to drive the chemical reactions that produce organic carbon. The photic zone can be subdivided into two different vertical regions.
The uppermost portion of the photic zone, where there is adequate light to support photosynthesis by phytoplankton and plants, is referred to as the euphotic zone also referred to as the epipelagic zoneor surface zone.
In such areas the euphotic zone may be only a few tens of meters deep or less. However, due to its capacity for photosynthesis, the photic zone has the greatest biodiversity and biomass of all oceanic zones.
Nearly all primary production in the ocean occurs here. Any life forms present in the aphotic zone must either be capable of movement upwards through the water column into the photic zone for feeding, or must rely on material sinking from above or must find another source of energy and nutrition, such as occurs in chemosynthetic archaea found near hydrothermal vents and cold seeps.A hydrothermal vent is a fissure in a planet's surface from which geothermally heated water issues.
Hydrothermal vents are commonly found near volcanically active places, areas where tectonic plates are moving apart at spreading centers, ocean basins, and hotspots. Hydrothermal vents exist because the earth is both geologically active and has large amounts of water on its .
A deep sea community is any community of organisms associated by a shared habitat to see, and creatures with a sensitive vision can detect prey, communicate, and orientate themselves using their sight. Organisms in this layer have large eyes to maximize the amount of light in the environment.
Hydrothermal vents are entire ecosystems. The birth of life at a hydrothermal vent often begins with a burst of bacteria from the opening. Vent bacteria can withstand higher temperatures than any other organism. Instead of light-based life, life at hydrothermal vents is based on sulfides that the bacteria can convert into energy.
The Mariana Trench is one of the most enigmatic spots in the ocean.
This crescent-shaped scar in the Earth’s crust forms where the Pacific plate collides and sinks below the Philippine plate.
Life is typically sparse on the deep seafloor, where organisms endure high pressure, near-freezing temperatures and pitch-black darkness. But at certain spots on the ocean floor where tectonic plates meet, unique ecosystems teem with unusual animal species.
There is no sunlight at hydrothermal vents, and instead they capture energy from the. These types of organisms are extremophiles that can live in the severest of conditions.
The hydrothermal vents are very hot, hence the word "thermal" in the name.