Navigation Links
Shimmering water reveals cold volcanic vent in Antarctic waters
Date:2/6/2013

The location of an underwater volcanic vent, marked by a low-lying plume of shimmering water, has been revealed by scientists at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton.

Writing in the journal PLOS ONE the researchers describe how the vent, discovered in a remote region of the Southern Ocean, differs from what we have come to recognise as "classic" hydrothermal vents. Using SHRIMP, the National Oceanography Centre's high resolution deep-towed camera platform, scientists imaged the seafloor at Hook Ridge, more than 1,000 metres deep.

The study, funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), aimed to build on our knowledge of how deep-sea creatures associated with hydrothermal activity evolve and migrate between different regions.

Hydrothermal vents are like hot springs, spewing jets of water from the seafloor out into the ocean. The expelled water, if hot enough, is rich in dissolved metals and other chemicals that can nourish a host of strange-looking life, via a process called "chemosynthesis". The hot water, being more buoyant than the surrounding cold seawater, rises up like a fountain or "plume", spreading the chemical signature up and out from the source.

The Hook Ridge vent, however, was found to lack the high temperatures and alien-like creatures that we now associate with hot hydrothermal vents. Instead there was a low-lying plume of shimmering water, caused by differences relative to the surrounding seawater in certain properties, such as salinity.

"Geochemical measurements of the water column provided evidence of slightly reducing, localised plumes close to the seafloor at Hook Ridge," said Dr Alfred Aquilina, lead author and former research fellow at University of Southampton Ocean and Earth Science, which is based at the centre.

"We therefore went in with sled-mounted cameras towed behind the Royal Research Ship James Cook and saw shimmering water above the seafloor, evidence of hydrothermal fluid seeping through the sediment."

So why were there no strange creatures around the vent? The team investigated this particular area of the deep-sea because prior measurements of the water column above Hook Ridge detected chemical changes consistent with a hydrothermal plume. On investigation, there was also a small relict "chimney" of precipitated minerals on the seafloor, which suggests that the hydrothermal fluid flowing from the vent was once warmer.

The researchers therefore propose that hydrothermal activity at Hook Ridge is too irregular to provide the vital chemicals that support chemosynthetic life.

Dr Aquilina explained why this was an important finding: "This region was investigated because hydrothermal systems in this part of the Southern Ocean may potentially act as stepping stones for genetic material migrating between separate areas in the world ocean," he said.

"The more hydrothermal vents we can find and investigate, the more we can understand about the evolution and dispersal of the creatures that live off the chemicals expelled in these dark, deep environments."


'/>"/>

Contact: Catherine Beswick
catherine.beswick@noc.ac.uk
National Oceanography Centre, Southampton (UK)
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. DRI to led efforts in clean water, sanitation and hygiene solutions in developing nations
2. Underwater CO2 shows potential as barrier to Asian carp
3. First global assessment of land and water grabbing published in national journal
4. Just add water: How scientists are using silicon to produce hydrogen on demand
5. Antibacterial agent used in common soaps found in increasing amounts in freshwater lakes
6. Earliest sea cow ancestors originated in Africa, lived in fresh water
7. CU-led study shows pine beetle outbreak buffers watersheds from nitrate pollution
8. Pythons, lionfish and now willow invade Floridas waterways
9. Waterfall-climbing fish use same mechanism to climb waterfalls and eat algae
10. Dance of water molecules turns fire-colored beetles into antifreeze artists
11. Study looks at gray seal impact on beach water quality
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Shimmering water reveals cold volcanic vent in Antarctic waters
(Date:2/1/2016)... 1, 2016  Today, the first day of American ... to develop a first of its kind workplace health ... Watson. In the first application of Watson ... IBM ), and Welltok will create a new offering ... cognitive analytics, delivered on Welltok,s health optimization platform. The ...
(Date:1/25/2016)... 2016  Glencoe Software, the world-leading supplier of image ... will provide the data management solution OMERO Plus for ... Photo - ... Phenotypic analysis measures the characteristics and behavior ... between states such as health and disease, the presence ...
(Date:1/20/2016)...   MedNet Solutions , an innovative SaaS-based eClinical ... research, is pleased to announce the attainment of record-setting ... result of the company,s laser focus on (and growing ... it,s comprehensive, easy-to-use and highly affordable cloud-based technology platform. ... MedNet growth achievements in 2015 include: , ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/5/2016)... ATCC, the premier global biological materials resource ... and life science researchers that are working to address ... CDC website . --> CDC ... a single-stranded RNA virus of the Flaviviridae family, genus ... Chikungunya Viruses. Zika virus is transmitted to humans primarily ...
(Date:2/4/2016)... ... February 04, 2016 , ... Morf Media Inc ., ... interactive FDA compliance training course, Writing Effective SOPs (Standard ... interactive course on Morf Playbook—now conveniently available on smartphones and PCs--provides step by ...
(Date:2/4/2016)... Beike Biotechnology, the Shenzhen ... ceremony in late 2015 to mark their successful combined ... --> --> The ... Cell Therapy" was hosted by the Shenzhen Cell Bank ... of Beike Biotechnology Co., Ltd. Shenzhen,s ...
(Date:2/4/2016)...  Spherix Incorporated (Nasdaq: SPEX ) -- an intellectual property ... intellectual property, today provided an update on the Company,s ... of Texas and announcing that ... Partes Re-examination ("IPR") proceedings that VTech and Uniden ... initiated on only certain claims of two of the ...
Breaking Biology Technology: