How animals in the hydrothermal vent can live with the high temperature.

Lesley Robertson l.a.robertson at
Thu Mar 28 10:39:20 EST 2002

<Bill_A_Nussbaumer at> wrote in message
news:OF089F90C1.7964D131-ON85256B8A.004D739B at
> Another point is that organisms don't live at 400C.  They live in the area
> surrounding thermal vents where the temperature quickly drops off.  The
> current known record holder is Pyrolobus fumarii which is capable of
> at a maximum temperature of 113C.  Organisms are also living in other high
> temperature environments under little to no additional pressure in such
> places as the hot springs and geysers of Yellowstone National Park in
> Wyoming, USA..  I'm not positive of the temperatures in these environments
> but I think scientists have located organisms growing at least as high as
> 80C.
Pyrococcus furiosus and P. woesei both have growth optima at around 100C,
and maxima at 103-105C.  Members of the Thermoproteales have growth optima
between 85-105C.  Note that these measurements are all done in the lab -
thus at 1 atmosphere (especially here, where we are right at sea level).
Your point is a good one - there is an extreme temperature gradient around
the black smokers - even on the outside of the chimney (as opposed to in the
centre of the water stream) the temperature is far from 400C.
Lesley Robertson

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