Subject: Re: (no subject)

Greg Early (
Tue, 02 Nov 1999 11:38:34 -0500


Whales, bacteria, what the heck...I can st reach a bit... 

Actually, believe it or not there is a connection here.  Some scientists
think that dead whales  (most of which die at sea and sink) are a big
factor in adding nutrients to deep ocean ecosystems (including thermal
vents)...see the web site

Thermal vents have a whole lot of unusual and unique animals living around
them, most have only been described in recent years and some represent
entirely new categories of animals (see the web site

 The general difference between thermal vent bacteria and other bacteria,
is that these guys get their energy from breaking down the sulfurous
compounds found in the plumes from the vents. The scientists who study
vents (obviously folks that spent a lot of time in submersibles)  have
given many of the vents "Godzilla", "Genesis" and "Snow
Blower"."Snow Blower" gets its name from the white bacterial mats that are
thrown up around it, and is one of the best bacterial habitats.  The
bacteria around these vents are the basis of the ecosystems of the vents.
They often live within other organisms near the vent, providing those
organisms a way to feed on sulfurous energy sources.  

Finding this type of bacteria has led to speculation that this is a similar
mechanism that may have produced  some of the first living organisms here
on earth in the past and , perhaps in other places in the solar system.
There is a lot of information about the bacteria at this web site...



At 06:33 PM 11/01/99 -0800, you wrote:
>Hi! I'm not sure if you would know the answer to this, but I was
>wondering exactly what types of bacteria lived around the thermal vents
>in the ocean floor.
>Stephanie Wilson
Greg Early
Edgerton Research Laboratory				
New England Aquarium
Central Wharf
Boston, Mass 02110
617-973-5246 (phone)
617-723-6207 (FAX)