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Deep sea taxis

Swirling surface currents reach deep into the ocean to scoop up larvae from hydrothermal vents and transport them to distant locales

Megan Scudellari
Invertebrate larvae at hot, biologically active deep sea vents can be swept up and transported hundreds of kilometers by surface-generated currents caused by the weather, according to research published this week in linkurl:Science.;http://www.sciencemag.org/
Hydrothermal vents on the sea floor
Copyright Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
The discovery provides one solution to the long-standing question of how materials -- including heat, chemicals and living organisms -- present at hydrothermal vents are transported throughout the ocean."What's neat about this paper is the idea that right next door to a mid ocean ridge system is a source of energetic eddies that can slowly flush things out into the ocean and populate other areas," said linkurl:Richard Thomson;http://www.meds-sdmm.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/sdb-bds/profile-profil.do?id=1230&lang=eng of the Institute of Ocean Sciences in Canada, who was not involved in the research. "That's new and innovative."Documented gene exchange between distant vent ecosystems and observations of the rapid colonization of new vents have long...
Resarchers haul in one of the moorings equipped with current meters and a time series sediment trap
Copyright B. Govenar, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
The Scientist.
Light micrograph of a larva of the limpet gastropod
Copyright S. Beaulieu, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Adams, D.K., et al., "Surface-generated mesoscale eddies transport deep-sea products from hydrothermal vents," Science, 332:580-3, 2011.



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