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Viruses are also a part of the hydrothermal vent microbial community and their influence on the microbial ecology in these ecosystems is a burgeoning field of research.Hydrothermal vents are located where the tectonic plates are moving apart and spreading.
Microbial communities at hydrothermal vents mediate the transformation of energy and minerals produced by geological activity into organic material.
Organic matter produced by autotrophic bacteria is then used to support the upper trophic levels.
The approximate rate of pressure increase in the ocean is 10Mega-pascals (MPa) for every kilometre that is traveled towards the seafloor.
This means that hydrostatic pressure can reach up to 110MPa at the depths of the trenches.
These temperatures stay in the range of 0-3 °C with the exception of the waters immediately surrounding the hydrothermal vents which can get as high as 407 °C.
These waters are prevented from boiling due to the pressure that is acting upon it at those depths.This allows water from the ocean to enter into the crust of the earth where it is heated by the magma.The increasing pressure and temperature forces the water back out of these openings, on the way out, the water accumulates dissolved minerals and chemicals from the rocks that it encounters.Although there is a large variation in temperatures at the surface of the water with the changing depths of the thermocline seasonally, the temperatures underneath the thermocline and the waters near the deep sea are relatively constant.There aren’t any changes that are brought about by seasonal effects or annual changes.These include organisms in the microbial mat, free floating cells, or bacteria in an endosymbiotic relationship with animals.Chemolithoautotrophic bacteria derive nutrients and energy from the geological activity at Hydrothermal vents to fix carbon into organic forms.These organisms also provide the foundation for further development of the ecosystem as they are hunted by larger creatures.The Hydrothermal vent microbial community encompasses all unicellular organisms that live and reproduce in a chemically distinct area around Hydrothermal vents.Microbes that live here are known to be hyperthermophiles which by definition are microorganisms that grow at temperatures above 90 °C.These organisms are found where the fluids from the vents are expelled and mixed with the surrounding water.