The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Institutional Repository

Microdistribution of Faunal Assemblages at Deep-Sea Hydrothermal Vents in the Southern Ocean

Marsh, Leigh, Copley, Jonathan T., Huvenne, Veerle A.I., Linse, Katrin, Reid, William D.K., Rogers, Alex D., Sweeting, Christopher J. and Tyler, Paul A. (2012) Microdistribution of Faunal Assemblages at Deep-Sea Hydrothermal Vents in the Southern Ocean PLoS ONE, 7, (10), e48348. (doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0048348).

Record type: Article


Chemosynthetic primary production by microbes supports abundant faunal assemblages at deep-sea hydrothermal vents, with zonation of invertebrate species typically occurring along physico-chemical gradients. Recently discovered vent fields on the East Scotia Ridge (ESR) in the Southern Ocean represent a new province of vent biogeography, but the spatial dynamics of their distinct fauna have yet to be elucidated. This study determines patterns of faunal zonation, species associations, and relationships between faunal microdistribution and hydrothermal activity in a vent field at a depth of 2,400 m on the ESR. Remotely operated vehicle (ROV) dives obtained high-definition imagery of three chimney structures with varying levels of hydrothermal activity, and a mosaic image of >250 m2 of seafloor co-registered with temperature measurements. Analysis of faunal microdistribution within the mosaiced seafloor reveals a consistent pattern of faunal zonation with increasing distance from vent sources and peak temperatures. Assemblages closest to vent sources are visibly dominated by a new species of anomuran crab, Kiwa n. sp. (abundance >700 individuals m?2), followed by a peltospiroid gastropod (>1,500 individuals m?2), eolepadid barnacle (>1,500 individuals m?2), and carnivorous actinostolid anemone (>30 individuals m?2). Peripheral fauna are not dominated by a single taxon, but include predatory and scavenger taxa such as stichasterid seastars, pycnogonids and octopus. Variation in faunal microdistribution on chimneys with differing levels of activity suggests a possible successional sequence for vent fauna in this new biogeographic province. An increase in ?34S values of primary consumers with distance from vent sources, and variation in their ?13C values also indicate possible zonation of nutritional modes of the vent fauna. By using ROV videography to obtain a high-resolution representation of a vent environment over a greater extent than previous studies, these results provide a baseline for determining temporal change and investigations of processes structuring faunal assemblages at Southern Ocean vents.

Other fetchObject.action_uri=info_doi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0048348&representation=PDF - Version of Record
Available under License Other.
Download (24MB)

More information

Published date: 29 October 2012
Organisations: Ocean Biochemistry & Ecosystems, Marine Geoscience


Local EPrints ID: 344880
ISSN: 1932-6203
PURE UUID: a18c5f95-9922-4773-aaa7-a742693a291a

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 05 Nov 2012 11:54
Last modified: 03 Oct 2017 16:40

Export record



Author: Leigh Marsh
Author: Veerle A.I. Huvenne
Author: Katrin Linse
Author: William D.K. Reid
Author: Alex D. Rogers
Author: Christopher J. Sweeting
Author: Paul A. Tyler

University divisions

Download statistics

Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e.g. from the publisher's website.

View more statistics

Atom RSS 1.0 RSS 2.0

Contact ePrints Soton:

ePrints Soton supports OAI 2.0 with a base URL of

This repository has been built using EPrints software, developed at the University of Southampton, but available to everyone to use.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.