Wednesday, April 24, 2013

1304.6127 (Noel Perez et al.)

The potential for photosynthesis in hydrothermal vents: a new avenue for life in the Universe?    [PDF]

Noel Perez, Rolando Cardenas, Osmel Martin, Michel Leiva-Mora
We perform a quantitative assessment for the potential for photosynthesis in hydrothermal vents in the deep ocean. The photosynthetically active radiation in this case is from geothermal origin: the infrared thermal radiation emitted by hot water, at temperatures ranging from 473 up to 673 K. We find that at these temperatures the photosynthetic potential is rather low in these ecosystems for most known species. However, species which a very high efficiency in the use of light and which could use infrared photons till 1300nm, could achieve good rates of photosynthesis in hydrothermal vents. These organisms might also thrive in deep hydrothermal vents in other planetary bodies, such as one of the more astrobiologically promising Jupiter satellites: Europa.
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