Research NewsMeeting Brief 1

Exotic Deep-Sea Lifestyles

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Science  17 Jan 1997:
Vol. 275, Issue 5298, pp. 305
DOI: 10.1126/science.275.5298.305a

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ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO—Tube worms living hundreds of meters beneath the sea rely on symbiotic bacteria and energy provided by a toxic gas—hydrogen sulfide—to provide the food that nourishes. New studies reported at the annual meeting of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology are now revealing the adaptations that help tube worms thrive in this demanding environment. Some extend rootlike tubes into the sea floor to help them take in hydrogen sulfide in areas where the gas is scarce, while others have transport mechanisms that help protect them from the gas's toxic effects in areas where it is plentiful.