Life at High Temperatures

by Thomas D. Brock

The Thermal Areas in Winter

© 1994 Yellowstone Association for Natural Science, History & Education, Inc. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming 82190.

Because the hot springs flow all year, the microbes remain active. However, the water cools in the run-off channels, so that the thermal gradient is reduced in area. Also in winter, reduced daylength and cloudy days means that there is less light for photosynthesis. The photosynthetic microorganisms respond by producing more chlorophyll, so the mats become dark green. Because the thermal basins remain snow-free, they are very attractive to the larger animals (photo below).

Life at High Temperatures Table of Contents Previous Page Next Page