About this Camera
This live video comes from the Grotto Hydrothermal Vent, located at a depth of 2186m on Endeavour segment of the Juan de Fuca ridge. The video is captured by Tempo-Mini, a unique device developed by France's IFREMER research institute.
Is it black?
When lights are turned on, you can watch live video from the camera. But the video here is usually dark, because we limit lights-on time to prevent light pollution in this sensitive deep-sea ecosystem. For the lights-on schedule see the calendar on the right. Click here to convert UTC time to your local time
The following picture shows some of the unusual animals you can see living on the hot vent. Hydrothermal vents are unique ecosystems that sustain life by chemical energy (as opposed to sunlight, which powers most of Earth ecosystems). These vents are mainly located at mid-ocean ridges where new oceanic crust is created. Deep-sea vent ecosystems harbour dense communities populated by “endemic” species—i.e. animals that are unique to this particular habitat. (Related backgrounder.)
The tubeworms in this video, Ridgea piscesae, are devoid of mouth, anus and digestive system. They feed on bacteria contained in the cells of a special part of their body, the trophosome.
Researchers are trying to understand how hot vent organisms respond to environmental fluctuations, which can occur over distances as small as a few centimetres and time periods as short as seconds or minutes. Changes might induce mobile species to move toward areas of more optimal temperatures. Sessile (attached) organisms are unable to migrate, and might die when conditions change too much in one area, while their settling larvae colonize new sites.
These high-resolution videos are helping researchers study hydrothermal vent ecosystems communities in realtime.