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Deep-sea hydrothermal vent animals seek cool fluids in a highly variable thermal environment
Bates, A.; Lee, R.W.; Tunnicliffe, V.; Lamare, M.D. (2010). Deep-sea hydrothermal vent animals seek cool fluids in a highly variable thermal environment. Nature Comm. 1(14): 1-6.
In: Nature Communications. Nature Publishing Group: London. ISSN 2041-1723, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 

    Hydrothermal springs; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Bates, A.
  • Lee, R.W.
  • Tunnicliffe, V.
  • Lamare, M.D.

    The thermal characteristics of an organism's environment affect a multitude of parameters, from biochemical to evolutionary processes. Hydrothermal vents on mid-ocean ridges are created when warm hydrothermal fluids are ejected from the seafloor and mixed with cold bottom seawater; many animals thrive along these steep temperature and chemical gradients. Two-dimensional temperature maps at vent sites have demonstrated order of magnitude thermal changes over centimetre distances and at time intervals from minutes to hours. To investigate whether animals adapt to this extreme level of environmental variability, we examined differences in the thermal behaviour of mobile invertebrates from aquatic habitats that vary in thermal regime. Vent animals were highly responsive to heat and preferred much cooler fluids than their upper thermal limits, whereas invertebrates from other aquatic environments risked exposure to warmer temperatures. Avoidance of temperatures well within their tolerated range may allow vent animals to maintain a safety margin against rapid temperature fluctuations and concomitant toxicity of hydrothermal fluids.

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