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tubeworms and tubes

Tubeworms make good real estate

To test whether complex physical structure could maintain the species diversity hydrothermal vent communities in areas of chemosynthetic primary production, Breea Govenar, a Postdoctoral Investigator in the Biology Department, deployed bundles of flexible PVC hose in the size frequency and density of natural aggregations of the giant tubeworm Riftia pachyptila along a gradient in productivity at a low-temperature hydrothermal vent on the East Pacific Rise. After one year, there were the same number of species in natural and artificial aggregations, exposed to diffuse hydrothermal fluids. 
(Photo courtesy of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)


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