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Structure and Drivers of Cold Seep Ecosystems

Structure and Drivers of Cold Seep Ecosystems
Structure and Drivers of Cold Seep Ecosystems
Submarine hydrocarbon seeps are geologically driven "hotspots" of increased biological activity on the seabed. As part of the HERMES project, several sites of natural hydrocarbon seepage in the European seas were investigated in detail, including mud volcanoes and pockmarks, in study areas extending from the Nordic margin, to the Gulf of Cádiz, to the Mediterranean and Black seas. High-resolution seabed maps and the main properties of key seep sites are presented here. Individual seeps show ecosystem zonation related to the strength of the methane flux and distinct biogeochemical processes in surface sediments. A feature common to many seeps is the formation of authigenic carbonate constructions. These constructions exhibit various morphologies ranging from large pavements and fragmented slabs to chimneys and mushroom-shaped mounds, and they form hard substrates colonized by fixed fauna. Gas hydrate dissociation could contribute to sustain seep chemosynthetic communities over several thousand years following large gas-release events.
1042-8275
92-109
Foucher, Jean Paul
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Westbrook, Graham
ccd95de7-a1a1-4fc9-be37-f1a487bb65ca
Boetius, Antje
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Ceramicola, Silvia
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Dupré, Stéphanie
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Mascle, Jean
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Mienert, Jürgen
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Pfannkuche, Olaf
87491614-ec35-4313-8690-72be7a5d97d5
Pierre, Catherine
14bf1142-00c2-4b2e-ba56-95c32d17ff3c
Praeg, Daniel
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Foucher, Jean Paul
29987d35-dd03-4843-8ed3-b4bfa27bd2c1
Westbrook, Graham
ccd95de7-a1a1-4fc9-be37-f1a487bb65ca
Boetius, Antje
7d9c9e50-85b5-4f14-a07c-18957419a015
Ceramicola, Silvia
4d9d4bf9-63bb-41b5-b5ef-efa6e546b9b1
Dupré, Stéphanie
374f7e72-78e3-4ed7-8f11-f4a75a9977f5
Mascle, Jean
3ef2ec2c-2cbe-4a3c-a640-9715e623d7a8
Mienert, Jürgen
9acd3e01-d041-4fa1-9a7b-0e7b8ecde748
Pfannkuche, Olaf
87491614-ec35-4313-8690-72be7a5d97d5
Pierre, Catherine
14bf1142-00c2-4b2e-ba56-95c32d17ff3c
Praeg, Daniel
8b717e97-9bcf-4da6-82ab-5690b0e79ef2

Foucher, Jean Paul, Westbrook, Graham, Boetius, Antje, Ceramicola, Silvia, Dupré, Stéphanie, Mascle, Jean, Mienert, Jürgen, Pfannkuche, Olaf, Pierre, Catherine and Praeg, Daniel (2009) Structure and Drivers of Cold Seep Ecosystems Oceanography, 22, (1), pp. 92-109. (doi:10.5670/oceanog.2009.11).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Submarine hydrocarbon seeps are geologically driven "hotspots" of increased biological activity on the seabed. As part of the HERMES project, several sites of natural hydrocarbon seepage in the European seas were investigated in detail, including mud volcanoes and pockmarks, in study areas extending from the Nordic margin, to the Gulf of Cádiz, to the Mediterranean and Black seas. High-resolution seabed maps and the main properties of key seep sites are presented here. Individual seeps show ecosystem zonation related to the strength of the methane flux and distinct biogeochemical processes in surface sediments. A feature common to many seeps is the formation of authigenic carbonate constructions. These constructions exhibit various morphologies ranging from large pavements and fragmented slabs to chimneys and mushroom-shaped mounds, and they form hard substrates colonized by fixed fauna. Gas hydrate dissociation could contribute to sustain seep chemosynthetic communities over several thousand years following large gas-release events.

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Published date: 2009
Organisations: Ocean and Earth Science

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 340095
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/340095
ISSN: 1042-8275
PURE UUID: 88633152-182c-4af6-909d-8d39f8a33b58

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Date deposited: 11 Jun 2012 09:14
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 05:49

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Contributors

Author: Jean Paul Foucher
Author: Antje Boetius
Author: Silvia Ceramicola
Author: Stéphanie Dupré
Author: Jean Mascle
Author: Jürgen Mienert
Author: Olaf Pfannkuche
Author: Catherine Pierre
Author: Daniel Praeg

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