COOL IMAGES: Vent Life

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Science  08 Oct 1999:
Vol. 286, Issue 5438, pp. 195
DOI: 10.1126/science.286.5438.195a

These grapelike blobs, each about 2.5 micrometers across, form clusters of bacteria that live inside deep-sea Riftia pachyptila tubeworms. The as yet unnamed microbes ply their hosts with carbohydrates that they make using chemical energy from the hydrogen sulfide burbling from thermal vents. The symbionts are October's Microbe of the Month at the cartoon-filled Microbe Zoo site. Although aimed at schoolchildren, Microbe Zoo's 70-odd micrographs, along with articles on topics such as magnetic microbes and giant bacteria in fish guts, have also been known to liven up grad school courses, says Web master Catherine McGowan

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