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Candy Chemosynthesis: Biochemistry of Hydrothermal Vents
In this activity, students will differentiate between requirements for life in extreme environments such as hydrothermal vents and other environments and will use soft candy as a model to create a visual image of chemicals involved in autotrophic nutrition. As they review the biochemistry of hydrothermal vents, they will discover what chemicals are used by autotrophs in extreme environments in the deep ocean and how these chemicals differ from those used by terrestrial autotrophs. They will also study a diagram showing how a hydrothermal vent (black smoker) acquires the elements and compounds that deep-sea autotrophs require.
Intended for grade levels:
  • High (9-12)
Type of resource:
  • For the classroom:
    • Classroom activity
    • Lesson plan
  • Visual:
    • Illustration - scientific
  • Geological Sciences:
    • Geochemistry
  • Ocean Sciences:
    • Biological oceanography
    • Chemical oceanography
Technical requirements:
Adobe Acrobat reader
Cost / Copyright:
No cost
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DLESE Catalog ID: DLESE-000-000-007-692
Educational standards:
  • National Science Education Standards (NSES):
    • 9-12:
      • Unifying concepts and processes:
        • Evidence, models, and explanation
      • A - Science as inquiry:
        • Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry
      • B - Physical science:
        • Chemical reactions
        • Interactions of energy and matter
      • C - Life science:
        • Interdependence of organisms
      • D - Earth and space science:
        • Energy in the earth system
Related resources:
This resource is part of 'Ocean Explorer'
Resource contact / Creator / Publisher:
Publisher: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Ocean Explorer