Spider crab at a hydrocarbon seep

Spider crab at a hydrocarbon seep

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Credit: I MACDONALD/OAR/NATIONAL UNDERSEA RESEARCH PROGRAM /TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY/NOAA/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Caption: Spider crab clambering over mussels (orange) and worms (pale) in an underwater hydrocarbon seep community. A hydrocarbon seep is a place where liquid hydrocarbons (such as oil) flow from rocks to the surface. Some bacteria can utilise the hydrocarbons as the basis for their metabolism, which allows an ecosystem to develop around them, with the bacteria at its base. These bacteria take the role of plants in terrestrial ecosystems, which rely on the Sun's energy. Hydrocarbon seeps are one of the few ecosystems on Earth not directly reliant on the Sun for energy. Photographed in the Gulf of Mexico.

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Keywords: animal, atlantic ocean, biological, biology, bivalve, bivalves, community, crabs, crustacean, deep, ecology, ecosystem, fauna, gulf of mexico, hydrocarbon seep, invertebrate, invertebrates, marine, marine biology, mollusc, mussel, mussels, nature, sea, spider crab, underwater, wildlife, worm, worms, zoological, zoology

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