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First new family of starfish discovered in hydrothermal vents

A new family of deep-sea starfish has been discovered living in the warm waters around a hydrothermal vent in the East Scotia Ridge in the Southern Ocean, Antarctica.
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Rimicaris hybisae: Extreme Shrimp May Hold Clues to Alien Life

Shrimp called Rimicaris hybisae at deep hydrothermal vents in the Caribbean seem to have different dietary habits depending on the proximity of other shrimp. Those who live in dense clusters like this one live off bacteria primarily, but in areas where the shrimp are distributed more sparsely, the shrimp are more likely to turn carnivorous, and even eat each other.
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Bubbling up Organics in an Ocean Vent Simulator

This week, fizzy ocean water and the alkaline fluid that bubbles up from deep ocean vents are coursing through a structure at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. that is reminiscent of the pillared Emerald City in the Wizard of Oz. Scientists with the NASA Astrobiology Institute's JPL Icy Worlds team have built this series of glass tubes, thin barrels and valves with a laser and a detector system. The set-up mimics the conditions at hydrothermal vents at the bottom of Earth's ocean and also detects compounds coming out of it. They want to see if sending these two liquids through a sample of rock that simulates ancient volcanic ocean crust can lead to the formation of simple organic molecules such as ethane and methane, and amino acids, biologically important organic molecules. Scientists have long considered these compounds the precursor ingredients for what later led to chains of RNA, DNA and microbes.
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Researchers discover unknown species at juncture where hot and cold habitats collide

Among the many intriguing aspects of the deep sea, Earth's largest ecosystem, exist environments known as hydrothermal vent systems where hot water surges out from the seafloor. On the flipside the deep sea also features cold areas where methane rises from "seeps" on the ocean bottom.
It's extremely rare to find both habitat types intersecting in one place, but that's what researchers found and explored during an expedition in 2010 off Costa Rica. A description of the scientists' findings, including a large number of mysterious, undescribed species, is published in a study led by Lisa Levin of Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego in the March 7 issue of the Proceedings of the Royal Society B (Biological Sciences).

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'Lost world' discovered around Antarctic vents

Communities of species previously unknown to science have been discovered on the seafloor near Antarctica, clustered in the hot, dark environment surrounding hydrothermal vents.
The discoveries, made by teams led by the University of Oxford, University of Southampton, the National Oceanography Centre, and British Antarctic Survey, include new species of yeti crab, starfish, barnacles, and sea anemones, and even an octopus probably new to science.

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East Scotia Ridge Hydrothermal Vents
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Yeti Crabs, Ghost Octopi Found at 1st Antarctic Deep-Sea Vents

Scientists doing their first exploring of deep-sea vents in the Antarctic have uncovered a  world unlike anything found around other hydrothermal vents, one populated by new species of anemones, predatory sea stars, and piles of hairy-chested yeti crabs.
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'Lost world' discovered around Antarctic vents

Communities of species previously unknown to science have been discovered on the seafloor near Antarctica, clustered in the hot, dark environment surrounding hydrothermal vents.
The discoveries, made by teams led by the University of Oxford, University of Southampton and British Antarctic Survey (BAS), include new species of yeti crab, starfish, barnacles, sea anemones and an octopus.

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Deepwater video of volcanic vents in Indian Ocean



One of the most inhospitable spots in the sea is captured on camera by British scientists



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Pyrite nanoparticles from hydrothermal vents rich source of iron

New research has helped locate the source of iron that bacteria and tiny plants on the ocean floor use to survive. Deep sea hydrothermal vents release pyrite nanoparticles that are so small they become dispersed in the ocean to form a potential food source for life in the deep sea.

Similar to humans, the bacteria and tiny plants living in the ocean need iron for energy and growth. But their situation is quite different than ours - for one, they can't exactly turn to natural iron sources like leafy greens or red meat for a pick-me-up.
So where does their iron come from? New research published by Nature Geoscience points to a source on the seafloor: minute particles (called nanoparticles) of pyrite, or fool's gold, from hydrothermal vents at the bottom of the ocean.

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Deep-sea vents discovered in the chilly Southern Ocean

Scientists aboard the Royal Research Ship James Cook, including Dr Clare Woulds from the University of Leeds, have discovered a new set of deep-sea volcanic vents in the chilly Southern Ocean.
The discovery is the fourth made by the research team in three years, which suggests that deep-sea vents may be more common in our oceans than previously thought.

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NASA Goes Deep in Search of Extreme Environments

An expedition partially funded by NASA, part of a program to search extreme environments for geological, biological and chemical clues to the origins and evolution of life, has discovered the deepest known hydrothermal vent in the world, nearly 5,000 metres below the surface of the western Caribbean Sea. The research will help extend our understanding of the limits to which life can exist on Earth and help prepare for future efforts to search for life on other planets.
An interdisciplinary team led by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Mass., and including research scientist Max Coleman of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., sailed to the western Caribbean in October 2009 aboard the research vessel Cape Hatteras. Using sensors mounted on equipment and robotic vehicles, they searched for deep-sea hydrothermal vents along the 110-kilometer-long Mid-Cayman Rise, an ultra-slow spreading ridge located in the Cayman Trough -- the deepest point in the Caribbean Sea. Results of their research are published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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