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Hydrothermal vents sometimes colonized from afar

Deep-sea currents can waft larvae hundreds of kilometers

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2:23pm, February 26, 2010

PORTLAND, Ore. — Field studies at a hydrothermal vent system where all life was snuffed out by a massive undersea volcanic eruption reveal that these habitats can be repopulated in a matter of months by larvae from distant vents.

In late 2005 and early 2006, a swarm of earthquakes rocked a 15-kilometer-long portion of the East Pacific Rise, a deep submarine ridge south-southwest of Acapulco, Mexico. That portion of the rise, which in turn is part of a network of mid-ocean ridges that encircle the globe, hosts hydrothermal vent systems that many researchers have long studied.

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