Hydrothermal vent communities on the deep sea have an abundance of “unusual” life forms (unlike anything in coastal environments). Life around deep-sea vents are supported by chemosynthesis (primary production not supported by photosynthesis). Microscopic organisms (base of local food chain) thrive on hydrogen sulfide from vents. Microbes manufacture sugar, carbon dioxide, and dissolved oxygen.
Hydrothermal vent species (secondary consumers and decomposers) include:
• Giant tubeworms
• Giant clams
• Giant mussels
Hydrothermal vents may active for years or decades.
Animals species are similar at widely separated vents.
Larvae from vent communities drift from site to site.