Tenacious life: Biological oasis found in Yellowstone Lake

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Image via Wikipedia: Yellowstone Lake

From Science Daily:

Montana State University researchers have discovered a rare oasis of life in the midst of hundreds of geothermal vents at the bottom of Yellowstone Lake.

A colony of moss, worms and various forms of shrimp flourishes in an area where the water is inky black, about 90 degrees Fahrenheit, and a cauldron of nutrients, gases and poisons, the researchers reported in the September issue of Geobiology.

The vent is close to 100 feet below the surface of Yellowstone Lake and a third of a mile offshore in the West Thumb region. The worms and shrimp live among approximately two feet of moss that encircles the vent. The researchers said that the Fontinalis moss is not known to grow in the conditions they found on the floor of Yellowstone Lake and that a worm found associated with the moss had never been reported in North America. The researchers also noted that this was the first in-depth published study of the biology associated with any geothermal vent in Yellowstone Lake.

“The proliferation of complex higher organisms in close association with a Yellowstone Lake geothermal vent parallels that documented for deep marine vents, although to our knowledge this is the first such documentation for a freshwater habitat”

D. Lovalvo, S. R. Clingenpeel, S. McGinnis, R. E. Macur, J. D. Varley, W. P. Inskeep, J. Glime, K. Nealson, T. R. McDermott. A geothermal-linked biological oasis in Yellowstone Lake, Yellowstone National Park, WyomingGeobiology, 2010; DOI: 10.1111/j.1472-4669.2010.00244.x

Science Daily article:


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One Response to “Tenacious life: Biological oasis found in Yellowstone Lake”

  1. Tenacious life – a new species of snail fish found at depth of 7000m « The k2p blog Says:

    […] Hot on the heels of discovering a biological oasis of life in hot, inky-black waters at the bottom of Yellowstone Lake in the midst of hundreds of geothermal vents comes news of  a new type of snailfish found living at a depth of 22,966ft (7,000m) in the Peru-Chile trench of the South East Pacific Ocean. […]

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