A Visit to Crab SpaOctober 24, 2018
The manipulator arm of the human-occupied submersible Alvin holds an isobaric gas-tight (IGT) sampler to collect vent fluids flowing from a seafloor hydrothermal vent site in the Pacfic Ocean called Crab Spa in November 2014. The IGTs, developed at WHOI, maintain the fluids at the extreme pressures of the deep-sea environment. Stefan Sievert, who led the expedition, and colleagues were able to analyze the chemistry and the metabolic activity of microbes in the fluids. They found that these microbe-based ecosystems are surprisingly productive and play an important role supporting life higher up the food chain in the food-starved deep ocean. (Photo courtesy of Stefan Sievert, WHOI/NSF/ROV Jason, ©Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)
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