Hot-Water Worms May Use Bacteria as Shield

John Roach, National Geographic News

This National Geographic news article highlights research being done to study the Pompeii worm (Alvinella pompejana), the most heat tolerant complex organism on Earth, and its microscopic symbionts. Bacteria on the worms' backs act like firefighters' blankets, shielding the worms from intermittent blasts of hot, metal-rich water. Scientists are currently characterizing the chemistry of the vent environment by sequencing a large amount of DNA from the bacterial community—the metagenome. The page includes links to related National Geographic sites.

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Subject: Biology:Ecology:Habitats:Marine, Biology:Ecology:Symbiotic Relations:Mutualism, Biology:Ecology:Habitats:Benthic, Biology:Molecular Biology, Microbiology:Methods of Microbiology :Molecular Methods, Biology:Microbiology
Resource Type: Scientific Resources:Overview/Reference Work
Grade Level: College Lower (13-14), General Public, High School (9-12), Middle (6-8)
Theme: Teach the Earth:Course Topics:Ecology
Extreme Environments: Extremely Hot, High Pressure
Ocean Environments: Deep Sea Floor/Abyssal:Hydrothermal Systems
Topics: Biosphere:Ecology:Habitats:Marine, Benthic, Biosphere:Methods of Microbiology:Molecular Methods , Biosphere:Ecology:Symbiotic Relations:Mutualism, Biosphere:Microbiology, Molecular BiologyKeywords: hydrothermal vent, DNA micro-array, Alvin, marine snow