Hello! My name is Jerry and welcome to my hydrothermal universe. I'm here to explain to you how things work around here, and hopfeully you'll learn some things!
Scientists first discovered hydrothermal vents in 1977 while exploring seafloor spreading near the Galapagos Islands. Using HOV submarines like Alvin, they were amazed to find advanced underwater communities supporting organisms like me!
Because of the extreme depths of around 9,000 feet on average, there is no visible sunlight. Therefore bacteria like archaea that act as producers must get energy from other locations rather than the sun. These bacteria use chemosynthesis to produce carbons and energy using materials that emit from hydrothermal vents.
Tube Worms consume producers like the archaea, I consume these worms, and I am hunted by the SCARY vampire squid pictured above me! I guess it's time to hide. Only 10% of the energy is transferred to each successive trophic level. It certainly takes a lot more energy to sustain a vampire squid than it does to sustain a tube worm.
Our skin has adapted to withstand temperatures reaching about 700 degree Fahrenheit and toxic chemicals that come from hydrothermal vents.
Because of extreme pressure, my shell is a great example of adapting to the extreme pressure of 298.5 bars.
Black smokers are chimneys formed form iron sulfide, while white smokers are chimneys formed from deposits of barium, calcium, and silicon deposits. These vents are short lived, but they release precipitates containing particles that are predominantly very fine-grained sulfide minerals. This helps give proper nutrients to the producers going through chemosynthesis!