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Re: 2nd Law of Thermodynamics

Martin Jehle wrote:
> These bacteria, tube worms etc. on the ocean bottom are powered by heat from 
> the earth ?

The answer is that the bacteria don't get their energy to live from the
vent, but they do get the the energy to thrive at the vent to such a
degree that they can sustain other animals.  They get their energy from
chemosynthesis, energy derived from generally sulphur compounds.  Sorry,
I don't have a reference in front of me and am going by sad memory so I
can't get very detailed at the moment.  The vents do supply quantities
of resources for them but they don't need the vents to survive.  What
the heat does is allow them to thrive in large populations due to the
fact that the vents allow the bacterial enzymes to operate at their
optimal temperature rather than the very cold temperatures normally
found at that depth.  The high numbers of bacteria that can thus survive
allows an entire ecosystem to be built upon them.
Hope this helps, chalk the lack of clarity up to the fact that I just
woke up.

Joe Daniel