Deep ocean tube worms, hydrothermal vent

Deep ocean tube worms, hydrothermal vent

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Credit: DR KEN MACDONALD/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Giant tube worms (Riftia pachyptila, left) anchored on the seabed by a hydrothermal vent. These marine invertebrates are a key part of the ecosystem of deep ocean hydrothermal vents. They can tolerate high temperatures, and obtain nutrients from the water by symbiosis with bacteria living in their bodies. The white tubes are made of chitin. The red structures, called plumes, contain haemoglobin that combines with the hydrogen sulphide and transfers it to the bacteria. The bacteria then convert the inorganic chemicals to organic molecules that are used by the tube worms. Other marine animals seen here include giant crabs (lower centre) and giant clams. Photographed on the East Pacific Rise.

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Keywords: active, animal, bacteria, bacterium, biological, biology, bottom, chemosynthesis, crab, deep, east pacific rise, ecosystem, fauna, geological, giant, giant tube worm, heat, hot, hydrothermal vent, invertebrate, invertebrates, life, marine, microbiological, mollusc, nature, ocean, ocean floor, oceanography, pacific ocean, plume, plumes, riftia pachyptila, sea, sea bed, seabed, symbiosis, symbiotic, tube worm, tubeworm, tubeworms, underwater, underwater photography, vent, vents, volcanic, wildlife, zoological, zoology

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