The Mystery of 'Venus's Hair' After a Volcanic Eruption

Monday, April 24, 2017 - 10:59am
The Atlantic

Volcanic eruptions are ecological reset buttons. They allow scientists to see how a complex ecosystem eventually emerges from barren rock. After an eruption on land, lichens are the first pioneers. In the water, Venus’s hair appears to play that role. It attaches—very firmly—to rock, gaining a foothold for other microorganisms and marine animal larvae. “It’s really acting like a foundation species,” says Craig Moyer, a marine microbiologist at Western Washington University, who was not involved in the study.