Into Hot Water: Lab test shows that worms seek heat

11:45am, April 12, 2006

Worms from deep-sea vents actually prefer water at temperatures near the upper limits of what animals are known to survive. An experiment, featuring a heated aquarium pressurized to 246 atmospheres, marks the first time researchers have directly tested vent worms' temperature preferences.

Paralvinella sulfincola is one of the few worms that set up house in the hot zones of hydrothermal vents called chimneys. These deep-sea features spew hot fluids that come from within Earth. The team collected specimens of P. sulfincola from 1,800 meters deep in the northeastern Pacific.

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