Date: 18 Jul 2006

Post-capture investigations of hydrothermal vent macro-invertebrates to study adaptations to extreme environments

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Typical survival strategies, developed by macro-invertebrates at a variety of reducing marine habitats including deep-sea hydrothermal vents, have been the subject of the laboratory experimentation over the past three decades. This review provides an insight into the international efforts that have converged on the area of laboratory maintenance of such species whose nutritional requirements are outside the usual scope of metazoan life. We emphasise the methodology used in post-capture manipulations that are designed to identify the physiological limits of adaptation to the harsh conditions known at various vent sites worldwide, and to understand the mechanisms involved. The concepts behind appropriately designed experiments and the choice of suitable model organisms for such physiological studies are also discussed.