Tube Worm Forest
This image of a deep sea mussel nestled among a forest of tube worms was captured by NOAA researchers during the Expedition to the Deep Slope in 2007. This is a species of tube worm that lives exclusively at deep-sea cold seeps where hydrocarbons, including oil and methane, are leaking out of the sea floor. The worms are entirely reliant on internal, sulfide-oxidizing bacterial for their nutrition. These tube worms can reach lengths of over 10 feet (3 meters) and grows very slowly. They can live to be over 250 years old.