Visualization
ES2302  Explore life at a hydrothermal vent.

Using submarines and remotely controlled cameras, researchers have discovered unique animals living deep in the ocean near hydrothermal vents. Bacteria that can derive energy from hydrogen sulfide form the base of the food chain in these areas. These video clips were taken during research expeditions along the Juan de Fuca Ridge, off the coast of Washington and Oregon.

  !   Click the images to see the video clips.
This animation shows a simulated area of the ocean floor, including hydrothermal vents and an instrument used to observe them. Some hydrothermal vents emit hydrogen sulfide dissolved in hot water. Sulfide particles accumulate around the vent to form chimneys.
 
Tubeworms thrive around hydrothermal vents. The feathery tentacles of these worms retreat into their tube casings as the camera approaches. Sulfide worms in this scene look like plants. Observe carefully to see two worms that appear to be fighting.
 
Tiny creatures called pandorae worms live on the outside of larger tubeworms. This octopus is just one of the types of marine creatures that inhabit areas near hydrothermal vents.

NOAA/PMEL Vents Program