Lobby > Exhibits > Hot Spring Ecology > Hydrothermal Influx in Fresh Water > Changing Microbes
The addition of thermal water affects the ecology of the Firehole River.
Algae and bacteria grow faster and in greater numbers in the warmer sections of
the river. The types of microorganisms also vary: diatoms favor the colder waters,
while green algae and bacteria grow in the warmer sections.
The hot water additions may also introduce thermophiles- microorganisms that thrive
in the extreme temperatures of hydrothermal features-into the river. Although
thermophiles can't grow or thrive once they are carried away from their natural
environment into colder water, they drift downstream and are useful indicators of
the extent of the thermal additions.
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