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The Ecology of Deep-Sea Hydrothermal Vents - Softcover

 
9780691049298: The Ecology of Deep-Sea Hydrothermal Vents
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Teeming with weird and wonderful life--giant clams and mussels, tubeworms, "eyeless" shrimp, and bacteria that survive on sulfur--deep-sea hot-water springs are found along rifts where sea-floor spreading occurs. The theory of plate tectonics predicted the existence of these hydrothermal vents, but they were discovered only in 1977. Since then the sites have attracted teams of scientists seeking to understand how life can thrive in what would seem to be intolerable or extreme conditions of temperature and fluid chemistry. Some suspect that these vents even hold the key to understanding the very origins of life. Here a leading expert provides the first authoritative and comprehensive account of this research in a book intended for students, professionals, and general readers. Cindy Lee Van Dover, an ecologist, brings nearly two decades of experience and a lively writing style to the text, which is further enhanced by two hundred illustrations, including photographs of vent communities taken in situ.


The book begins by explaining what is known about hydrothermal systems in terms of their deep-sea environment and their geological and chemical makeup. The coverage of microbial ecology includes a chapter on symbiosis. Symbiotic relationships are further developed in a section on physiological ecology, which includes discussions of adaptations to sulfide, thermal tolerances, and sensory adaptations. Separate chapters are devoted to trophic relationships and reproductive ecology. A chapter on community dynamics reveals what has been learned about the ways in which vent communities become established and why they persist, while a chapter on evolution and biogeography examines patterns of species diversity and evolutionary relationships within chemosynthetic ecosystems.


Cognate communities such as seeps and whale skeletons come under scrutiny for their ability to support microbial and invertebrate communities that are ecologically and evolutionarily related to hydrothermal faunas. The book concludes by exploring the possibility that life originated at hydrothermal vents, a hypothesis that has had tremendous impact on our ideas about the potential for life on other planets or planetary bodies in our solar system.

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Review:
The deep sea has long been likened to a terrestrial desert. In some ways the analogy is useful, writes marine biologist Cindy Lee Van Dover, for the oceanic floor, like many arid regions of the earth, is low in biomass. She adds, "What life there is, though, is remarkably diverse," sometimes numbering hundreds of species in a single square meter of mud.

That deep-sea diversity is nowhere more pronounced than in the thermal vents that often occur where tectonic plates meet, marked by great lava fields and even active volcanoes (three-quarters of which are underwater). Located, among other places, along the great mountain ridges of the Laurentian Abyss and the Marianas Trench, these vents harbor strange creatures found nowhere else--giant clams and mussels, for example, and 2-meter-long "tubeworms" whose internal organs house sulfur-oxidizing bacteria. Discovered only in 1977, these hydrothermal vents, which vary markedly from ocean to ocean, have excited much attention among researchers. Some scholars now believe that life originated in these fiery environments, which have yielded relict species of barnacles, crinoids, and mollusks hitherto known only from the fossil record.

Examining the ecology and geochemistry of the planet's deep-sea vent systems, Van Dover presents a wide-ranging, interdisciplinary, and highly accessible survey of these mysterious places. --Gregory McNamee

From the Inside Flap:

"This is a truly readable book, lavishly illustrated, that covers one of the most exciting and interesting aspects of marine biology. Offering a very thoughtful interpretation and analysis of the data available, the book takes a wonderful holistic approach to its subject. It will be the standard text in vent biology."--Paul Tyler, University of Southampton

"This book will acquaint a whole generation of readers and students to the wonders of the deep sea and the discoveries that have yet to be made on the earth. It will be a valuable resource, serving as a textbook for advanced undergraduate and graduate courses and as a reference for researchers in the fields of deep-sea hydrothermal vents, oceanography, marine biology, invertebrate zoology, microbiology, and biogeography. Because Cindy Van Dover is a truly gifted writer, her book will also be extremely useful to general readers outside of these main fields. It is a joy to read."--Colleen Cavanaugh, Harvard University

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  • PublisherPrinceton University Press
  • Publication date2000
  • ISBN 10 0691049297
  • ISBN 13 9780691049298
  • BindingPaperback
  • Edition number1
  • Number of pages448
  • Rating

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Book Description Condition: New. 2000. 1st Edition. Paperback. Explains what is known about hydrothermal systems in terms of their deep-sea environment and their geological and chemical makeup. This book explores the possibility that life originated at hydrothermal vents, a hypothesis that has had impact on our ideas about the potential for life on other planets or planetary bodies in our solar system. Num Pages: 448 pages, 4 pages of color plates, 28 halftones, 158 line illus., 30 tables. BIC Classification: PSAF; PSVT; PSVW; RBKC. Category: (P) Professional & Vocational; (U) Tertiary Education (US: College). Dimension: 233 x 158 x 26. Weight in Grams: 656. . . . . . Seller Inventory # V9780691049298

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