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Press Release 14-061
Undersea warfare: Viruses hijack deep-sea bacteria at hydrothermal vents

Unseen armies of viruses and bacteria battle in the deep

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smoke ad rock formations on the bottom of the ocean floor

More than a mile beneath the ocean's surface, microbial pirates board treasure-laden ships.

Credit: NOAA


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Map showing the Lau Basin in the Western Pacific Ocean

The Lau Basin in the Western Pacific Ocean, where many of the deep-sea samples were taken.

Credit: NOAA


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Near deep-sea hydrothermal vents

Near deep-sea hydrothermal vents, armies of bacteria and viruses wage undersea warfare.

Credit: NOAA


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various rock formations on the bottom of the ocean floor

Viruses infect bacteria in the dark ocean, the better to steal sulfur for energy to replicate.

Credit: NOAA


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illustration showing the pacific plate, mantle and magma melting

The Lau Basin region where viruses and bacteria proliferate near hydrothermal vents.

Credit: NOAA


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image showing dust and rock formations in the ocean

The discovery is the first report of a bacteria-virus relationship in a chemosynthetic ecosystem.

Credit: NOAA


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