Tube Worm Colony
This image of colony of giant tube worms was taken by NOAA researchers in a rift valley off the coast of the Galapagos Islands in the Pacific Ocean. The giant tube worm (Riftia pachyptila) is a species that lives exclusively near deep sea hydrothermal vents, also known as black smokers. The bright red color of the worm's crown is caused by hemoglobin, the same substance that makes our blood red. These tube worm hemoglobins are able to carry oxygen in the presence of poisonous sulfide from the vents.