mbari_news The hydrothermal chimneys at Alarcón Rise in the Gulf of California are spectacular geologic formations. The bizarre communities of animals that live on and around the vents have evolved to not only withstand, but in fact thrive in the extreme temperature and chemical conditions. This video features some of the unusual geologic features and organisms found at vent sites, including stunning dense clumps of giant tubeworms (Riftia pachyptila). Riftia worms are an example of a species that is specially adapted to the extreme hydrothermal vent ecosystem. They have a symbiotic relationship with chemosynthetic microbes that convert methane and sulfides from the water into energy for the worms. This type of chimney is known as a black smoker because of the large quantities of iron sulfide pouring out. Due to their unique and fascinating qualities, we still have a lot to learn about hydrothermal vents and their surrounding communities. Studies conducted at MBARI in collaboration with partnering institutions are shedding light on many unanswered questions about these amazing areas.
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