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Black Smoker Ecologies January 3, 2012

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Octopus, Science.
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This photo is from an ROV in the East Scotia Ridge (at the bottom of the Southern Ocean), a thermal vent area and home to this beautiful octopus,  as well as a boatload of other, unique critters, and is part of a survey of such vents.  It looks like each vent area grows its own microecology, like this one apparently overwhelmed with yeti crabs:

The paper says as much: “Animals commonly found in hydrothermal vents of the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans, including giant Riftia tubeworms, annelid worms, vent mussels, vent crabs, and vent shrimps, were not present at the Southern Ocean vents. These discoveries suggest that the environmental conditions of the Southern Ocean may act as a barrier to some vent animals and that the East Scotia Ridge communities form a new biogeographic province with a unique species composition and structure.”

Awesome.  The paper is at PLOS.  One of the authors is a distant (very) relative.

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