Mediterranean Hydrothermal Vent Systems' Ecological and Biotechnological ImportanceAuthor(s): Karim Mohammed
The Marine hydrothermal systems are a type of extreme environment associated with subsurface volcanic activity, and they are characterised by harsh chemo-physical conditions, such as high CO2 and H2S concentrations, and low pH. Such environments have a significant impact on living creatures, forcing them to develop adaptive techniques in order to live. Researchers have been drawn to hydrothermal systems because of their vast ecological and biological significance. These acidified ecosystems are important natural laboratories for predicting the effects of global environmental changes, such as ocean acidification, at the ecosystem level, by observing the responses of marine organisms to environmental extremes. Hydrothermal vents are also renowned for being excellent sources for isolating thermophilic and hyperthermophilic microorganisms with biotechnology potential. This review, which tries to provide a picture of the ecological properties of the principal Mediterranean hydrothermal vents, focuses on this dual aspect. The physiological responses, quantity, and distribution of biotic components are investigated by focusing on necto-benthic fauna and prokaryotic communities, which are known to play an important role in the dynamics of marine ecosystems and serve as indicator species. The importance of hydrothermal vents as a source of bioactive chemicals will be discussed, as well as the scientific interest in them.