, Volume 818, Issue 1, pp 1–10 | Cite as

Marine hydrothermal vents as templates for global change scenarios

  • Hans-Uwe Dahms
  • Nikolaos V. Schizas
  • R. Arthur James
  • Lan Wang
  • Jiang-Shiou HwangEmail author
Opinion Paper


Subsurface marine hydrothermal vents (HVs) may provide a particular advantage to better understand evolutionary conditions of the early earth and future climate predictions for marine life. Hydrothermal vents (HV) are unique extreme environments that share several similarities with projected global and climate change scenarios in marine systems (e.g., low pH due to high carbon dioxide and sulfite compounds, high temperature and turbidity, high loads of toxic chemicals such as H2S and trace metals). Particularly, shallow hydrothermal vents are easily accessible for short-term and long-term experiments. Research on organisms from shallow HVs may provide insights in the molecular, ecological, and evolutionary adaptations to extreme oceanic environments by comparing them with evolutionary related but less adapted biota. A shallow-water hydrothermal vent system at the northeast Taiwan coast has been intensively studied by several international research teams. These studies revealed astounding highlights at the levels of ecosystem (being fueled by photosynthesis and chemosynthesis), community (striking biodiversity changes due to mass mortality), population (retarded growth characteristics), individual (habitat attractive behavior), and molecular (adaptations to elevated concentrations of heavy metals, low pH, and elevated temperature). The present opinion paper evaluates the potential of shallow hydrothermal vents to be used as a templates for global change scenarios.


Shallow hydrothermal vent Early earth environment Global change template Adaptations Extreme habitat 



We are grateful for the funding by the Ministry of Science and Technology, Taiwan from projects (Grant No. MOST 103-2611-M-019-002, MOST 104-2621-M-019-002, MOST 104-2611-M-019-004, MOST 105-2621-M-019-001, MOST 105-2621- M-019-002 and MOST 106-2621-M-019-001) to J. S. Hwang. We further acknowledge funding through MOST 104-2621-M-037-001 and MOST 105-2621-M-037-001 to T. H. Shih. This work was partly supported by a grant from the Research Center for Environmental Medicine, Kaohsiung Medical University (KMU-TP105A27) to H.U.D.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hans-Uwe Dahms
    • 1
    • 2
  • Nikolaos V. Schizas
    • 3
  • R. Arthur James
    • 4
  • Lan Wang
    • 5
  • Jiang-Shiou Hwang
    • 5
    • 6
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Biomedical Science and Environmental BiologyKaohsiung Medical UniversityKaohsiungTaiwan
  2. 2.Research Center for Environmental MedicineKaohsiung Medical UniversityKaohsiungTaiwan
  3. 3.Department of Marine SciencesUniversity of Puerto Rico PRMayagüezUSA
  4. 4.Department of Marine ScienceBharathidasan UniversityTamil NaduIndia
  5. 5.School of Life ScienceShanxi UniversityShanxiChina
  6. 6.Institute of Marine BiologyNational Taiwan Ocean UniversityKeelungTaiwan

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