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Naive question about black smokers at the ocean rifts

  1. Mar 23, 2010 #1
    Naive: how are black smokers at the ocean rifts colonized?

    Ok, please don't hammer me. It's a very naive question. I assume that abiogenesis is not occurring at the black smokers, or there would be worldwide press about it. So how can the colonizing life forms (tube worms, lobster things, shrimp things) get all the way across the relatively cold ocean to get to the smokers?
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2010
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 24, 2010 #2


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    Cold ocean? A smoker spits water at 400°C...
  4. Mar 24, 2010 #3
    No Soma, Bore was asking how did the organisms which live around the black smoker in the hot water get there in the first place as to get there they would need to pass through lots of cold water first.

    Maybe they just evolved there when the sea was shallower, i.e as the rift was forming and followed the smokers down as old ones would go otu and new ones would form as the oceon's plates moved.
  5. Mar 24, 2010 #4
    Well it starts with bacteria developing there... then the other animals stroll on in feeding on the bacteria and it develops a mini-ecosystem with a complete food chain. Some of the organisms that are there specifically evolved for life there over many, many years.
  6. Mar 24, 2010 #5
    Some nice articles and pictures of ocean floor communities from MBARI:

    http://www.mbari.org/topics/biology/bio-seafloor.htm [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  7. Mar 24, 2010 #6


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    Organisms can travel vast distances through the water, when they hit the right conditions they will start to thrive.
  8. Mar 24, 2010 #7


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    Let's also consider that in harsh extremes of living-condition, nature will select for organisms that can go into dormancy (of one kind of another) until things improve. Ocean currents can transport such potential survivors all over the globe until conditions are right.
  9. Apr 5, 2010 #8
    Many of the relevant organisms release larvae and eggs that do not require hot water very soon. They can drift considerable distances before they run out of food stores (or luck!) If they drift or swim near to another smoker they settle down and establish a new population.
    There are many variations on the theme. The whole business is marvellous almost beyond bearing...

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