All life is based on solar energy. All ecosystems require, either directly or indirectly, photosynthesis to support life. Correct? Nope!

In the deep parts of the oceans, where no sunlight reaches, there are ecosystems that depend on chemosynthesis to function. Chemosynthesis is the process whereby water and carbon dioxide are converted to glucose and oxygen without the use of sunlight. The creatures that do this are called chemoautotrophic bateria, and they use hydrothermal energy instead of solar energy. The bacteria live near vents on the ocean floor, and they use the energy given off by these vents (350-660 degrees F), along with various inorganic chemicals also produced by the vents, to facilitate chemosynthesis.

The chemoautotrophic bacteria live on and in tubeworms called Giant Riftia. The worms consume some of the bateria, and are the fastest growing invertebrates on Earth.

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