January 20, 2000
WOW. It must have been neat to see the six foot long tube worms! I think they're
really interesting!!! But, I have a question, is there a way to know if they
are male or female? I think they are really cool to learn about them.
There cool! Thanks a lot!
Ms. Sheild's Red Class
A very good question! I have checked with Tim Shank and Craig Cary, and they
tell me that the way you tell a male tubeworm from a female tubeworm is that
the male has two grooves extending along the muscle. These grooves have "cilia" (or
fine hair-like structures) in them, and are related to the way that the tubeworm
releases sperm into the water column.
Thanks for the question -- visit us again!
I am interested in whales and dolphins, so getting to
hear them was really neat. I was wondering, what exactly is a hydrophone, and
how does it work? Thanks for letting us be the guinea pigs for the web site.
I'm in Ms. Sheild's class, and the site is great!
Hope you have been enjoying the whales and dolphin pictures that we have been
posting on our web site. A hydrophone is just like a microphone -- except that
it is used underwater. Just as you can speak into a microphone and record what
you say on to a tape deck, a hydrophone records noises made underwater and records
them to a tape.
Hope that helps -- visit us again!
Dear Susan Humphris,
I am a student of Ms. Sheild's and I am evaluating your site. So far, it is awesome!
This summer I visited the Banff Hot springs; I was wondering about the Hydrothermal
Vents at the bottom of the ocean. Are Hydrothermal Vents at the bottom of the
ocean related to the Hot springs on the earth? If so how? Please write back!
Absolutely!! Both hydrothermal vents at the bottom of the ocean and hot springs
on land are caused by the same processes. "Hydrothermal" means "hot water," so
they are both hydrothermal vents and result from water that seeps into the ground
being heated up by magma (molten rock) or hot solid rock and then returning to
the surface. So -- somewhere deep below Banff, there must be hot rock that is
heating the rainwater as it seeps into the ground.
Thanks for the question.
My name is Andrew Gordon O'Neil (watch that spelling).
I am a member of Ms. Sheild's class. My amazingly stumptacular question is "If
these vents are found at such low depths then why are the aquatic animals encircling
them at all colorful?" What I mean is the fact that objects only are perceived
as being a certain color because that is the color that bounces off of them.
If an animal cannot be seen without artificial light why would it evolve to be
of any color?
That is not a painstakingly brain-boring question -- it is a REALLY good one,
even though it sounds simple! I asked the biologists on board, and they had a
long discussion about this one! One suggestion is that the animals that are red
are scavengers; that is, they are eating dead things that used to live up closer
to the surface. Those types of animals contain the red pigment, carotenoid, and
very often, animals get colored based on what they eat! Another suggestion was
that many of the animals have larval forms that live nearer the surface where
they eat other organisms that contain red pigments; hence, the color is a holdover
from when they were young. Yet another suggestion is that it is nothing to do
with this, but a consequence of evolution. Many crustacea (crabs are one variety)
are red, and perhaps through time, they have preserved that pigmentation. So
- you see, there are lots of ideas, but it seems as if there is no clear answer.
A good research project!
See you in April! Susan Humphris
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