What vent tubeworms and chemosynthetic bacteria get from their close relationship

BBC - GCSE Bitesize: Parasitism and mutualism

Photosynthesis and chemosynthesis are both processes by which organisms Close up of a tubeworm “bush”, which mines for sulfide in the carbonate It is a classic symbiotic relationship. The discovery of hydrothermal vents and cold- water methane seeps gave us a new vision of primary production in the deep sea . Symbiosis are organisms living in close association with one another. Define and compare the three different kinds of symbiotic relationship described in Giant tube worms contain bacteria in their tissues living in a symbiotic relationship. Where besides hydrothermal vents, have chemosynthetic bacteria been found?. Tube worms host chemosynthetic bacteria inside their bodies and use the products The symbiotic relationship between the microbes and the tube worm is The tube worm does not have to eat microbes instead it just has to absorb the.

The inner workings of these ecosystems have proved to be as unusual as their location, for they are powered not by the light of the sun but by the heat of the earth. Lesson At the heart of these deep-sea communities is a process called chemosynthesis. Chemosynthesis is the use of energy released by inorganic chemical reactions to produce food. It is analogous to the more familiar process of photosynthesis. In photosynthesis, plants grow in sunlight, capturing solar energy to make organic matter.

  • Parasitism and mutualism
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In chemosynthesis, bacteria grow in mineral-rich water, harnessing chemical energy to make organic material. Chemosynthesis can sustain life in absolute darkness. The most extensive ecosystem based on chemosynthesis lives around undersea hot springs. At these hydrothermal vents, a chemical-rich soup bubbles out of the crust and into the bottom of the sea.

Boiling hot, saturated with toxic chemicals and heavy metals, and more acidic than vinegar, vent waters are deadly to most marine animals. This noxious brew is paradise to the bacteria that coats the rocks around the vent in thick orange and white mats. The bacteria absorb hydrogen sulfide streaming from the vents, and oxidize it to sulfur. They use the chemical energy released during oxidation to combine carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen into sugar molecules.

From this simple reaction, an entire ecosystem grows. Snails, clams, mussels, and a host of other grazing animals feed on the bacterial mats. Crabs and shrimp eat the grazers, and then are hunted by larger crabs, fish, and octopi.

Chemosynthesis and Hydrothermal Vent Life

Bacteria live within the hard-shelled animals where they are protected from predators. The tube worms and clams receive a built-in food supply because they absorb nutrients directly from the bacteria. Their blood rich tissues, colored red by hemoglobin, absorb dissolved gases from the vent water and from the seawater, and then carry them to the bacteria. The bacteria convert the chemicals to organic matter and share the excess with the tube worms.

They must rely on a different source of energy.

Giant Tube Worm - Deep Sea Creatures on Sea and Sky

At cold seeps and hydrothermal vents, there are many chemicals that microbes can use to create food and energy. Hydrogen sulfide the stuff that smells like rotten eggs and methane are two of the most common of these. Where hydrogen sulfide is present in the seafloor around cold seeps, tubeworms are often found growing in clusters of thousands of individuals.

These unusual animals do not have a mouth, stomach, or gut.

Photosynthesis and chemosynthesis

Instead, they have a large organ called a trophosome that contains billions of chemosynthetic bacteria. In some cases, the trophosome accounts for more than half the weight of the tubeworm.

The bacteria then use these materials plus carbon dioxide they take from the water to produce organic molecules. A similar symbiotic relationship is found in clams and mussels that have chemosynthetic bacteria living in association with their gills. A variety of other organisms found in cold seep communities also use tubeworms, mussels, and hard and soft corals as sources of food or shelter or both.

They include snails, eels, sea stars, crabs, lobsters, isopods, sea cucumbers, and fishes. Some of these might be symbiotic interactions, but the specific relationships between these organisms and the other animals living around cold seeps have not been well studied. Microscopic Mutualism Mutualistic symbiosis also occurs between protists and bacteria or archaea, especially those that live in extreme environments.

Protists are single-celled eukaryotes such as diatoms, foraminifera, and ciliates. Eukaryotic cells have a nucleus and other organelles surrounded by a membrane.

Photosynthesis and chemosynthesis – Sea floor – Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand

Plants, fungi, and animals are also eukaryotes. Bacteria and archaea are prokaryotes, which are single-celled organisms that do not have a nucleus or other organelles surrounded by a membrane. DHABs are among the most extreme environments on Earth. Organisms living there face complete darkness, up to ten times the salinity of normal seawater, complete lack of oxygen, very high pressure, and in some cases, high levels of sulfide or methane, both of which are toxic for most eukaryotes, including protists.

All of the protists that have been collected from DHABs have bacteria closely associated with them. Some are completely covered with bacteria. Others have bacteria inside their single-celled body, enclosed in a membrane.

Some have bacteria both inside and outside, and many have more than one kind of bacteria.