Deep ocean worm,SEM

Deep ocean worm,SEM


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Deep ocean worm (Branchinotogluma trifurcus), coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) showing close-up of mouthparts. This species of worm is found on the walls of hydrothermal vent 'black smokers' 2,500-3,000 metres below the surface of the Pacific Ocean. They feed on bacteria that live directly off minerals released by the vents (a process known as chemosynthesis). Hydrothermal vents are found along geologically active zones deep underwater. The vents release superheated water and dense mineral deposits, forming huge towers that support a wide variety of fauna.

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