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The International Significance of Deep-sea Hydrothermal Vents

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Chapter Summary

This chapter first introduces key components of the deep-sea environment and the biodiversity of the deep sea with a particular focus on the ecosystems associated with deep-sea hydrothermal vents. Secondly, it considers the nature of the biodiversity of the deep sea generally and the unique features of hydrothermal vents within the context of the overall biodiversity of the deep sea. The chapter then examines specific sites, such as those associated with Marine Protected Area (MPAs), more details are provided on the biology and ecology of those specific sites. It further presents several reasons why we should be concerned about the environmental impact of human activities on hydrothermal vent ecosystems. Finally, the chapter seeks to lay the foundation for an understanding of the unique ecosystems of hydrothermal vents and their place in our emerging understanding of the biodiversity of the deep sea.

Keywords: biodiversity of the deep sea; deep-sea hydrothermal vents; hydrothermal vent ecosystems; Marine Protected Area (MPA)



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