Oceanography The Official Magazine of
The Oceanography Society
Volume 20 Issue 01

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Volume 20, No. 1
Pages 14 - 23


Hydrothermal Vent Ecosystems

Charles R. Fisher Ken Takai Nadine Le Bris
First Paragraph

The analogy between hydrothermal vents and desert oases has been made many times since the discovery of the lush communities of animals that live around sites of active hydrothermal venting along oceanic spreading centers. Indeed, without the bacterial chemoautotrophic primary production that forms the basis of the food chain for these communities, the new seafloor would be even more barren than the older surrounding seafloor. Instead, one finds around the hydrothermal vents densities of animals with standing biomass as high as that of the most productive ecosystems on the planet (Figure 1).


Fisher, C.R., K. Takai, and N. Le Bris. 2007. Hydrothermal vent ecosystems. Oceanography 20(1):14–23, https://doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2007.75.

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