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Life around thermal vents
Question number: 11 Posted: 24 Nov 2004 12:56
Topic: Vents and seeps Creator: Anne-Gerd Lind
Status: Answered Scientist: Eva Ramirez Llodra
Written by: Anne-Gerd Lind 24 Nov 2004 12:56

Why are studies of thermal vents so interesting to you? Are findings here characteristical for early life forms on earth?

Written by: Eva Ramirez Llodra 24 Nov 2004 18:15

Studying vents and seeps is incredibly interesting and exciting. First because it is, in many cases, an exploratory research: vents were only discovered in 1977!. Our knowledge is still limited to the study of a small number of sites around the globe. And new species and new adaptations are beind discovered all the time. Second, because these are ecosystems that are not based on solar energy (photosynthesis) like most life on Earth, but on chemosynthesis (primary production of microorganisms that use reduced chemicals as source of energy). About the origin of life, it has been suggested that the geochemical characteristics of hydrothermal vents make them ideal locations for the synthesis of organic compounds and the potential emergence of a methabolic system. In fact, this theory is being considerd by space researchers for their search for life in outer space, like for example in Europa, one of the moons of Jupiter.

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