cold seep

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Hypersaline brine or a mixture of hydrocarbons that seeps from the ocean floor in a manner similar to that of a hydrothermal vent, but at about the ambient temperature. Cold seeps are rich in methane and support large and diverse communities sustained by the primary productivity of chemosynthetic bacteria; methane is taken up by the gills of the dominant mussels (Bathymodiolus), where it is oxidized by intracellular bacteria to release energy.

Subjects: Earth Sciences and Geography.

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