Chemolithoautotrophs (lith means "stone"), commonly referred to simply as chemoautotrophs or chemolithotrophs, use inorganic compounds for energy and derive their carbon from CO2. These prokaryotes live in seemingly inhospitable environments such as sulfur hot springs, which are rich in reduced inorganic compounds such as hydrogen sulfide. In some regions of the ocean depths, hydrothermal vents have been discovered. Here, chemoautotrophs serve as the primary producers, supporting rich communities of life in these habitats utterly devoid of sunlight (see figure 30.9). ■ hydrothermal vents, p. 778
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