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Ecology and biogeography of megafauna and macrofauna at the first known deep-sea hydrothermal vents on the ultraslow-spreading Southwest Indian Ridge

Ecology and biogeography of megafauna and macrofauna at the first known deep-sea hydrothermal vents on the ultraslow-spreading Southwest Indian Ridge
Ecology and biogeography of megafauna and macrofauna at the first known deep-sea hydrothermal vents on the ultraslow-spreading Southwest Indian Ridge
The Southwest Indian Ridge is the longest section of very slow to ultraslow-spreading seafloor in the global mid-ocean ridge system, but the biogeography and ecology of its hydrothermal vent fauna are previously unknown. We collected 21 macro- and megafaunal taxa during the first Remotely Operated Vehicle dives to the Longqi vent field at 37° 47' S 49° 39' E, depth 2800 m. Six species are not yet known from other vents, while six other species are known from the Central Indian Ridge, and morphological and molecular analyses show that two further polychaete species are shared with vents beyond the Indian Ocean. Multivariate analysis of vent fauna across three oceans places Longqi in an Indian Ocean province of vent biogeography. Faunal zonation with increasing distance from vents is dominated by the gastropods Chrysomallon squamiferum and Gigantopelta aegis, mussel Bathymodiolus marisindicus, and Neolepas sp. stalked barnacle. Other taxa occur at lower abundance, in some cases contrasting with abundances at other vent fields, and ?13C and ?15N isotope values of species analysed from Longqi are similar to those of shared or related species elsewhere. This study provides baseline ecological observations prior to mineral exploration activities licensed at Longqi by the United Nations.
hydrothermal vents, ultraslow-spreading ridges, ecology, deep-sea mining
39158
Copley, J.T.
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Marsh, L.
023df59a-3db7-4de6-b0a0-6262c5a6cf32
Glover, A.G.
d02f152a-95ac-4398-b6c0-bb09a57741e2
Huhnerbach, V.
1ea7cdde-a6fd-4749-b880-504c958c588c
Nye, V.E.
e3688d01-623f-47b5-9a4c-7e49b16aa5a8
Reid, W.D.K.
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Sweeting, C.J.
fe3228e6-8ac8-49c9-a191-27e0a09d15bd
Wigham, B.D.
baa74f68-edf2-4301-9d78-92beaa885acf
Wiklund, H.
34574f48-a767-4e02-8951-09ba5e5a548b
Copley, J.T.
5f30e2a6-76c1-4150-9a42-dcfb8f5788ef
Marsh, L.
023df59a-3db7-4de6-b0a0-6262c5a6cf32
Glover, A.G.
d02f152a-95ac-4398-b6c0-bb09a57741e2
Huhnerbach, V.
1ea7cdde-a6fd-4749-b880-504c958c588c
Nye, V.E.
e3688d01-623f-47b5-9a4c-7e49b16aa5a8
Reid, W.D.K.
46f3d9ce-0396-4495-8fb3-dd6cb38d3d32
Sweeting, C.J.
fe3228e6-8ac8-49c9-a191-27e0a09d15bd
Wigham, B.D.
baa74f68-edf2-4301-9d78-92beaa885acf
Wiklund, H.
34574f48-a767-4e02-8951-09ba5e5a548b

Copley, J.T., Marsh, L., Glover, A.G., Huhnerbach, V., Nye, V.E., Reid, W.D.K., Sweeting, C.J., Wigham, B.D. and Wiklund, H. (2016) Ecology and biogeography of megafauna and macrofauna at the first known deep-sea hydrothermal vents on the ultraslow-spreading Southwest Indian Ridge Scientific Reports, 6, p. 39158. (doi:10.1038/srep39158).

Record type: Article

Abstract

The Southwest Indian Ridge is the longest section of very slow to ultraslow-spreading seafloor in the global mid-ocean ridge system, but the biogeography and ecology of its hydrothermal vent fauna are previously unknown. We collected 21 macro- and megafaunal taxa during the first Remotely Operated Vehicle dives to the Longqi vent field at 37° 47' S 49° 39' E, depth 2800 m. Six species are not yet known from other vents, while six other species are known from the Central Indian Ridge, and morphological and molecular analyses show that two further polychaete species are shared with vents beyond the Indian Ocean. Multivariate analysis of vent fauna across three oceans places Longqi in an Indian Ocean province of vent biogeography. Faunal zonation with increasing distance from vents is dominated by the gastropods Chrysomallon squamiferum and Gigantopelta aegis, mussel Bathymodiolus marisindicus, and Neolepas sp. stalked barnacle. Other taxa occur at lower abundance, in some cases contrasting with abundances at other vent fields, and ?13C and ?15N isotope values of species analysed from Longqi are similar to those of shared or related species elsewhere. This study provides baseline ecological observations prior to mineral exploration activities licensed at Longqi by the United Nations.

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Accepted/In Press date: 18 November 2016
e-pub ahead of print date: 14 December 2016
Published date: 14 December 2016
Keywords: hydrothermal vents, ultraslow-spreading ridges, ecology, deep-sea mining
Organisations: Ocean and Earth Science, Marine Geoscience

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 403238
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/403238
PURE UUID: dc7ffd05-60ca-4b31-b086-6fc2022cbb74

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Date deposited: 24 Nov 2016 14:43
Last modified: 03 Oct 2017 16:33

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Contributors

Author: J.T. Copley
Author: L. Marsh
Author: A.G. Glover
Author: V. Huhnerbach
Author: V.E. Nye
Author: W.D.K. Reid
Author: C.J. Sweeting
Author: B.D. Wigham
Author: H. Wiklund

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