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Spa Day

Scientists use HOV Alvin’s manipulator arm to collect fluid from a hydrothermal vent about 2,500 meters (8,200 feet) underwater at a site named CrabSpa because the water temperature from the vent is much warmer (25ºC) than the surrounding deep-sea water (2ºC). Some of the marine microbes in samples from the site were considered microbial dark matter, because they had never been categorized before. Through funding from NSF, the scientists plan to return to CrabSpa in January 2014 to perform a comprehensive assessment of chemosynthesis, the microbial process that breaks down hydrothermal chemicals for energy, which will be featured in Dive and Discover. (Photo courtesy of Stefan Sievert, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)


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