Brevia

Thermal Preference and Tolerance of Alvinellids

Science  14 Apr 2006:
Vol. 312, Issue 5771, pp. 231
DOI: 10.1126/science.1125286

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Abstract

The highest oceanic temperatures are found at hydrothermal vents, where the polychaete Paralvinella sulfincola lives on vent sulfides within steep and dynamic thermal gradients. To determine P. sulfincola thermotolerance and preference, we developed a high-pressure aquarium that mimics in situ thermal gradients and permits P. sulfincola to move within the gradient. These polychaetes were thermotaxic, preferring temperatures of 40° to 50°C. Some individuals remained at 50°C for 7 hours (the duration of the experiment), whereas others endured exposure to 55°C for over 15 minutes, demonstrating that alvinellids prefer high temperatures and are among the most thermotolerant of marine organisms.

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