Crushing pressure, freezing temperatures, and zero sunlight aren't enough of a challenge for giant tube worms. They've adapted to thrive at the edge of hydrothermal vents, which spew superheated water saturated with toxic chemicals. This colony was photographed 1.5 miles (2.4 kilometers) below the ocean's surface on the East Pacific Rise near the Galapagos Islands.

Photograph by Emory Kristof, National Geographic

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Timeline. A timeline of important events in ocean underwater exploration.

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Deep-Sea Ecosystems: Extreme Living
Deep-Sea Ecosystems: Extreme Living Activity

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Students discuss how they and other organisms adapt to survive in different environments. They discover the characteristics of deep-sea extremophiles that help those organisms survive in several deep-sea ecosystems.