May 31, 2005
My name is Rebecca, and I'm in Miss Sheild's seventh grade class in Lexington, MA. I have two questions. How long does a normal hydrothermal vent animal live? How many new species have been identified by Alvin?
Good questions, and I am not sure we know the answers!
We don't know the life expectancy of vent animals, but we have some clues for a couple of animals. Tim Shank has documented tubeworms that he knows have lived for five years, but how long they can actually live is not definitely known. Clamshells have been dated, and they are thought to live 20 to 30 years.
I don’t know how many new species have been identified from Alvin collections, but more than 600 new species been described from vents—and I would bet that the majority were collected by Alvin!
Keep Diving and Discovering!!!
Hi, my name is Samantha and I am yet another student from Clover Hill High School who is following this expedition. My main goal in life is to become a marine biologist and work with interesting organisms. At the many vent sites you guys have visited so far, how many species of tubeworms have you found? I have seen in past answered questions that there are many species and I was wondering how many you have seen on this expedition. Thanks for your time in answering all of our questions!
Glad to hear you are interested in marine biology! You have asked a good question.
On this expedition, we think we might have seen three types of tubeworms, although we won't be sure until the biologists get back to their shore lab and are able to do some genetic sequencing. We know for sure we have seen Riftapachyptila (the large ones with the big, red plumes), and we have collected samples of some others that could be either one of the following species, or perhaps both: Tevnia jerichonana or Oasisia alvinae. We will have to wait and see!
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