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Geophysical Monograph Series



  • Deep-sea ecology—Congresses
  • Mid-ocean ridges—Congresses



On the edge of a deep biosphere: Real animals in extreme environments

James J. Childress

Dept. of Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology, UC Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, California

Charles F. Fisher

Dept. of Biology, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania

Horst Felbeck

Marine Biology Research Division, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, California

Peter Girguis

Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, Sandholdt Road, Moss Landing, California

This paper considers the possibility of animals living in a subsurface environment on the global mid-ocean ridge system. It considers the possible environments and looks at the possibilities of animal inhabitants of the subsurface biosphere based on adaptations of animals to other extreme habitats. We conclude that there are known bridging inhabitants of the subsurface biosphere, that part-time inhabitants are extremely likely, and that there could be full-time inhabitants if conditions are stable within the tolerance limits of metazoans for time periods of months.

Citation: Childress, J. J., C. F. Fisher, H. Felbeck, and P. Girguis (2004), On the edge of a deep biosphere: Real animals in extreme environments, in The Subseafloor Biosphere at Mid-Ocean Ridges, Geophys. Monogr. Ser., vol. 144, edited by W. S. Wilcock et al., pp. 41–49, AGU, Washington, D. C., doi:10.1029/144GM04.


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