Cold Seep Mussels
This image of deep sea mussels was taken by NOAA researchers during the Expedition to the Deep Slope in 2007. This mussel colony was found growing around a cold seep in the Gulf of Mexico. Cold seeps are areas where where hydrogen sulfide, methane and other hydrocarbon-rich fluids seep up out of the ocean floor. Specialized bacteria feed on these chemicals in a process known as chemosynthesis. The bacteria support ecosystems of animals that include mussels, limpets, shrimp, crabs, and tube worms. The colorless shrimp in this image are totally blind.
Image courtesy of Expedition to the Deep Slope 2007, NOAA-OE
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