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filaments of bacteria on sulfide rocks at Mid-Cayman Rise vents

Furry Walls

In January 2012, an international research group aboard R/V Atlantis completed an expedition to study the world's deepest known hydrothermal vents, at the Mid-Cayman Rise in the Caribbean. The group, led by Chris German of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, collected samples and images 2300 and 5000 meters deep using ROV Jason (just visible at the bottom). At the site shown here, called "The Furry Walls," long filaments of microbes attached to sulfide rock billow in the chemical-enriched water flowing from the seafloor. The microbes use chemicals instead of sunlight as an energy source. (Photo courtesy of Chris German, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)


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