Daily Update: Symbiosis: You scratch my back, I'll scratch yours
By Amy Nevala
may be the most under-appreciated organisms on this planet,
with humans spending a better part of their lives trying
to soap, scrub and spray them away.
at hydrothermal vents, they are the basis of all life.
only think of bacteria as germs, said microbial biologist
Colleen Cavanaugh, yet bacteria at hydrothermal vents are
the reason larger animals exist in these environments, many in
Symbiosis is a relationship in which both organisms
benefit. Each partner provides the other food or shelter. In some
cases, it is both of these things.
In her research at Harvard University, Colleen is
finding that bacteria and most of the bigger vent animals coexist
using symbiosis. This is true for shrimp, mussels and snails that
she has studied at hydrothermal vents in the Pacific and Atlantic
She has found the same relationships here in the
In the video-data collected several days ago at hydrothermal
vents using ROV Jason, we saw a good example of symbiosis between
shrimp and bacteria. The wiggly vent shrimp munch the bacteria
that live on their bodies. To keep up this bacteria supply, the
shrimp swarm the hydrothermal vents that pump out hot chemicals
used as energy by the bacteria.
Colleens work and that of the other scientists continues here, despite
a third day of 15 foot waves. While ROV Jasons duties are postponed until
the seas subside, geologists were able to dredge volcanic rocks from the rift
valley walls of the Central Indian Ridge.
we do find the hydrothermal vents in this area, we need to know
what sort of rock they are built on, said Geologist Susan
Humphris, who together with Geologist Dan Fornari and crew members
pulled up a heavy load of the sooty, black pillow lava, named
for its rather bulbous appearance
Inside the main lab, Chemists Bob Collier, Marvin
Lilley and others on the Plume
Hunting Team continued their non-stop efforts to find the elusive hydrothermal
plume here at 24°S.
So far its Plume 1 and Scientists 0, said Dan. After several
meetings today about the CTD data and bathymetric maps, we have more sites to
Science is all about not giving up, said Dan. Even if today is Friday
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