Life at Vents and Seeps

Life at Vents and Seeps

by Jens Kallmeyer
English | 2017 | ISBN: 3110494752 | 355 Pages | PDF | 11.3 MB

Many of Earth's ecosystems are characterized by "extreme" environmental conditions, because they deviate from those conditions that humans would consider "normal" with regard to temperature, water availability, pressure, salinity, nutrient supply and so on. Vents and Seeps, especially deep-sea hydrothermal vents, are synonyms for life under extreme conditions because they exhibit everything that we, as surface-dwelling humans, consider extreme: high temperature, high pressure, in some cases high concentrations of toxic compounds. However, there are many more environments that are characterized by moving fluids, as different as their geologic setting, temperature regime, flow rates and fluid compositions might be.

What they all have in common are very steep chemical and often thermal gradients as well as high concentrations of chemical compounds.

Despite being considered extreme, these habitats are colonized by a large number of organisms that thrive under the given conditions.

In recent times, more and more scientists from various disciplines became interested in vent and seep environments. Through multidisciplinary research completely new concepts were developed of how life can possibly survive and even thrive in extreme ecosystems, mainly due to the development of new analytical techniques.

The different chapters in this volume of the series "Life in Extreme Environments" provide an overview of the wide range of different vent and seep environments and their inhabitants. The first chapters describe the various habitats, followed by studies about specific locations. The final chapters present exciting new technological developments as well as studies about specific microbial groups that are commonly found in vent and seep environments.

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