Marine hydrothermal microorganisms respond rapidly to changes in the concentrations and availability of metals within their environment. Hyperthermophilic archaea appear to possess novel mechanisms for metal detoxification, dissimilatory metal reduction and metal assimilation that may be absent in their mesophilic and bacterial counterparts. For example, tungsten was found in high concentrations in a hydrothermal sulfide deposit where hyperthermophiles were also most abundant, consistent with the unique requirement of these organisms for this element. Furthermore, newly isolated genera of iron-reducing hyperthermophiles expand the scope of carbon cycling in hydrothermal environments. The advent of genome sequences and new molecular techniques will facilitate our further understanding of microbe-mineral interactions in these environments.