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Lost City Expedition: Science



The unique carbonate habitats at Lost City, host very dense colonies of microorganisms that thrive in the gently flowing vent water, which baths the outer surfaces of the chimneys. Robust communities are also found within the warm interior walls of the towers. These novel organisms likely depend upon methane, hydrogen, and sulfate for their survival.

The communities at Lost City may be very different than those in black smoker environments, and provide insights into life associated with some of the earliest hydrothermal systems on Earth.

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The faunal communities at Lost City have adapted to a very unique environment, and many of our studies on this expedition will focus on the linkages between the fauna and their habitats.

One of the questions we will be examining is why dense faunal communities, which typify black smoker environments, are scarce at Lost City. Is it because 1) Lost City is far away from the Mid-Atlantic Ridge?, 2) is there something in the fluids that is toxic to these animals?, or 3) are necessary nutrients not available?

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