How has Alvin the submersible helped scientists learn about the environment?



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    During its 4,200 dives, the submersible Alvin has made many discoveries that have helped marine scientists to better understand the ocean environment.  Surely one of Alvin’smost significant discoveries, however, was that of the large communities of marine organisms that live near volcanically active deep-sea vents in some regions of the ocean.  These events release dissolved sulfide into the water, which is converted into food energy by certain types of bacteria.  These bacteria form the base of a food web that supports everything from giant tube-dwelling worms to large white crabs.  This discovery, made possible by Alvin, opened the eyes of researchers to a previously entirely unknown, and very unique deep-sea ecosystem.

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