The hydrothermal vent fluids from the Gorda Ridge spreading center in the northeast Pacific Ocean create a biological hub of activity in the deep sea. There, in the dark ocean, a unique food web thrives not on photosynthesis but rather on chemical energy from the venting fluids. Among the creatures having a field day feasting at the Gorda Ridge vents is a diverse assortment of microbial eukaryotes, or protists, that graze on chemosynthetic bacteria and archaea.
For the first time, a research team has obtained high resolution sedimentary core samples from Lake Tanganyika. The samples show that high frequency variability in climate can lead to major disruptions in how the lake’s food web functions. The changes could put millions of people at risk who rely on the lake for food security. The team says the findings are a critical building block toward research-informed policymaking in the Lake Tanganyika region.