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Researchers pinpoint how tubeworm babies are dispersed to colonize new vent sites

ridge segments where there is volcanic activity, a distance of 100 to 200 kilometers may separate areas of active venting," he notes. "Thus, the tubeworm larvae's dispersal range tells us that, on average, they do not routinely travel between active vent sites. Instead, the colonization of a new vent site is dependent on rare current conditions when a larva ends up traveling beyond 100 kilometers."

Marsh says this research to solve the mystery of how new tubeworm colonies are formed illustrates the interdisciplinary approach needed to tackle many marine questions.

This study is truly integrative in that we had people working on the biochemistry of the tubeworm eggs, the physiology of the embryos, the buoyancy of the larvae, and the hydrodynamics of the ocean around deep-sea vent systems, Marsh adds. We had to put all of this together to determine how far the larvae would go.


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Contact: Tracey Bryant
tbryant@udel.edu
302-831-8185
University of Delaware
1-May-2001


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