Hydrothermal vents are the hot springs on the ocean floor. They are formed in areas with a high tectonic activity where the plates collide with each other and spread. The tectonic plates are the sections of the earth’s crust which are called the lithosphere. When the two plates strike each other, volcanoes, earthquakes, and other natural phenomena happen. Let us see what are the primary producers associated with hydrothermal vents and what organisms are the primary producers for the vent ecosystem. You will also find answers to what plants live in hydrothermal vents.
1. What are the Primary Producers Associated with Hydrothermal Vents?
Sunlight cannot reach the depths of the ocean floor; therefore, other photosynthetic organisms are not producers here. The primary producers of the hydrothermal vent ecosystem are chemosynthetic bacteria. They are a class of organisms that use chemicals that are produced by hydrothermal vents to make food for themselves. It is done in the same way that plants make use of sunlight for food. (See What are the End Products of Photosynthesis?)
2. What Organisms are the Primary Producers for the Vent Ecosystem?
An ecosystem consists of three layers of tropics. Take a look at the following to know what organisms are the primary producers for the vent ecosystem.
- Primary Consumers: The bottom-level organisms are called producers, they make their food. Organisms that eat other producers are called primary consumers.
- Secondary Consumers: They eat primary consumers.
- Tertiary Consumers: They consume both primary and secondary consumers. These bacteria are Methanopyrus kandleri, Pyrolobus fumarii, and Pyrodictium abyssi. Also, check out what are few examples of Producers Consumers and Decomposers?
3. What Plants live in Hydrothermal Vents?
You already know what are the primary producers associated with hydrothermal vents. Let’s see what plants live in hydrothermal vents.
- Methanopyrus kandleri – It is a heat and salt-loving species of archaea which makes its home on the walls of smokers. It takes energy from hydrogen gas and releases methane, which is known as methanogenesis.
- Pyrolobus- It is also an isolated species. These are the heat-loving microbes that get their energy from hydrogen gas, and they produce hydrogen sulphide from the vents. Hydrogen sulphide is highly toxic to a lot of animals, including people. These species have special adaptations that protect them from hydrogen sulphide.
- Pyrolobus fumarii – It is also isolated from a hydrothermal vent on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. It grows at a temperature ranging from 90º to 113º C and resembles an ideal temperature of 106ºC.
- Pyrodictium abyssi – It is a disc-shaped cell that grows and is attached to hollow tubes which resemble tree roots. They grow best at 105ºC and can reproduce between 80ºC and 110ºC. Must read what plants live in the ocean?
4. Why do Hydrothermal Vent matter?
As you are aware of what are the primary producers associated with hydrothermal vents, let’s see some of the reasons why hydrothermal vents matter:
- Hydrothermal vents are natural plumbing systems which carry heat and chemicals from the earth and regulate global ocean chemistry.
- They collect huge amounts of latent valuable minerals on the seafloor. Vents support a complex ecosystem of strange organisms which have unique biochemical adaptions.
- They teach organisms about the evolution of life on earth and the possibility of life somewhere. They have a metabolic process and compounds found in vent organisms. On a slightly different note, you can check out how long does it take a body to decompose in water?
5. How are Hydrothermal made?
Hydrothermal vents are formed as a result of seawater penetrating through a split in the ocean crust in the area of spreading centres. The cold seawater is heated by hot magma and appears to form the vents. Temperatures in hydrothermal vents can outweigh 700 degrees Fahrenheit. (See What are the Weeds with Purple Flowers called?)
6. How many Species are there in Vents?
Apart from answering what are the primary producers associated with hydrothermal vents, let me tell you that 590 new animal species have been discovered living in vents. There could be less than 50 active vent sites that are found. Scientists have confirmed that six major seafloor regions have biogeographical provinces. (See Are Sea Anemones Plants or Animals?)
7. What is an Extremophile?
Extremophiles are organisms that live in extreme environments, which means under high pressure and temperature. Bacteria are formed on the rocks near the hydrothermal vents. They are organisms that can bloom in extreme environments such as hydrothermal vents. They can live under a range of conditions. (See Hydroponics: Plants That Grow In Water Only)
8. How do Decomposers act in the Hydrothermal Vent?
Just like in terrestrial ecosystems, when any organism dies at a hydrothermal vent, the body is eaten by scavengers or decomposed by bacteria. The waste material is decomposed by bacteria. Organic matter is made up of dead animals or poop that have been broken down into basic nutrients. (See What do Newts Eat in a Pond?)
9. Who eats Hydrothermal Vent?
Some organisms eat both live and dead materials. Crabs, live clams, and amphipods also feed on the hydrothermal vent. There are other species like sea dandelions that feed on scavenging.
Hydrothermal vents have seawater, which is heated by the hot magma that surrounds the ocean’s crust. It behaves just like other producers, consumers, and decomposers of matter. They possess organic microorganisms that eat the vent. The purpose of this information was to give readers a fundamental grasp of hydrothermal vents and their place in the ecosystem.
Hope this article gave answers to all your questions. Share with your friends and let them know what are the primary producers associated with hydrothermal vents, what organisms are the primary producers for the vent ecosystem and what plants live in hydrothermal vents. (See What is Environmental Manipulation of Crops?)