If sunlight ceased to reach the Earth, the majority of life would come to an end because the sun is the primary source of energy. Animals get their energy from other animals or plants, and plants typically sustain themselves through photosynthesis, requiring direct sunlight.
However, there are life forms that can exist without light. Geologists have discovered life at depths in the ocean where the sun’s rays do not extend. Sea creatures including coral reefs, crabs, fish, anemones and tubeworms – colored white, pink, yellow and red – were thriving near a hydrothermal vent. The process by which they survive is chemosynthesis, the oxidation of chemicals like hydrogen sulfide for energy. Sea animals can subsist by eating the abundant bacteria that perform this energy-attaining procedure in the vent environment. Tubeworms were even found to have these bacteria in their cells.
Additionally, extremophiles, or microbes that exist in conditions where most other life would die, can exist without direct sunlight. In addition to deep-sea vents, some of these unique species flourish in sulfuric springs, salt lakes, soda lakes and sea ice.
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