These brilliant red “feathers” are actually animals called tube worms. They live in an extreme environment on the deep ocean floor, thousands of meters below the water’s surface. Their world is always very cold and completely dark. Without sunlight, photosynthesis is not possible. So what do organisms eat at these depths? Tube worms depend on chemosynthetic microorganisms that live inside them for food. In this and other ways, tube worms have adapted to the extreme conditions of their environment.
All organisms must adapt to their environment in order to survive. This is true whether they live in water or on land. Most environments are not as extreme as the deep ocean where tube worms live. But they all have conditions that require adaptations. In this chapter, you will read about a wide variety of environments and the organisms that live in them.
Courtesy of Nicolle Rager Fuller, National Science Foundation. www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/sfs/popup/life_vc_tubeworms.htm. Public Domain.