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.