This image of deep sea mussels was taken by NOAA researchers during the Pacific Ring of Fire Expedition. It shows a dense bed of hydrothermal mussels covering the slope of Northwest Eifuku volcano near a sea floor hot spring called Champagne vent. These hydrothermal vents support large ecosystems of animals that feed on bacteria that grow near the vent. These bacteria thrive on the chemicals in the hot water in a process known as chemosynthesis. Other vent animals living among the mussels include shrimp, limpets, and Galatheid crabs.
Pacific Ring of Fire 2004 Expedition. NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration
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