Oases of life around black smokers and hydrocarbon seeps in the deep-sea were among the most surprising scientific discoveries of the past three decades. These ecosystems are dominated by animals having symbiotic relationships with chemoautotrophic bacteria. Their study developed into an international, interdisciplinary venture where scientists develop new technologies to work in some of the most extreme places on Earth. This book highlights discoveries, developments, and advances made during the past 10 years, including remarkable cases of host-symbiont coevolution, worms living on frozen methane, and a fossil record providing insights into the dynamic history of these ecosystems since the Paleozoic.
'A welcome look at vents and seep biology in tandem, this synthesis provides more than the sum of two ecosystems'. Lisa Levin, Integrative Oceanography Division Scripps Institution of Oceanography, California, USA 'The discovery of chemically-reducing seafloor vents and the lush communities that they host rates as one of the most exciting scientific discoveries of the past century. As our exploration of the oceans has continued the wide diversity of chemosynthetic ecosystems present (vents, seeps, large organic falls, oxygen minimum zones) has continued to expand and, so too, our appreciation of the extremes under which life can exist. This field is now helping to shape, and revealing ideal natural laboratories in which to test, fast-changing theories on the origins of life on Earth and the potential for life beyond our home planet. This timely compilation of papers from an international team of experts, therefore, should provide a compelling read for a broad spectrum of life, ocean, earth and space scientists, ranging from the graduate student level to the most senior professionals in any of the above disciplines.' C.R.German, Chief Scientist for Deep Submergence, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, USA
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