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Как донные животные путешествуют между сероводородными источникамиMany organisms living at hydrothermal vents on the sea floor, depend on a very specific energy resources like methane or hydrogen sulphide. Usually such animals cohabit with bacterial symbionts that and process this alapetite "chemistry" in more available to the body shape. However, such sites on which of the strata of the earth in the water facing methane, hydrogen sulfide, etc., can defend from each other for hundreds of kilometers. And then the question arises: how animals that depend on such sources are distributed between them?

Colonization piece of wood bacteria and benthic organisms (figure of authors).

According to one hypothesis, TRANS-shipment areas such travels could become the body of large animals (e.g. whales), large dead algae and drowned wood residues. To test this, the researchers from the Institute of Microbiology of the sea of max Plank Society (Germany) dropped to the bottom of the Mediterranean sea, to a depth of 1 700 m, a piece of wood and pulled it back a year later.

The experiment, as you can see, pretty simple, but it has allowed to understand how the development of dead organic matter in marine ecosystems. According to researchers in the web journal PLoS ONE, the first on the tree came bivalves of the genus Xylophaga that by bacteria, processing cellulose, prepared wooden piece for the following settlers. Decomposition of wood led to the settlement of its other organisms and, consequently, intensive oxygen consumption, and this opened the way for sulfate-reducing bacteria. They can also break down cellulose, but prefer zones of oxygen-poor.

These sulfate-reducing bacteria produce hydrogen sulfide, which serves as a resource for those who inhabits the underground geothermal sources. Indeed, the scientists succeeded in experimental piece of wood discover a mollusk, usually living only in specific, sulfurous environment. That is leapfrog bacteria on the sunken piece of wood gradually made it habitable for specific species for energy prefer special chemical resources.

Obviously, on the seabed such fragments of wood is not uncommon, and the inhabitants of geothermal sources can navigate from one source to another. Most likely, such a "bridge" can serve as another dead organic material, but scientists, of course, was easier to use in the experiment piece of wood, rather than a whale carcass.

Based on the materials of the scientific Society of the max Planck.
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