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


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).

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Description/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.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1038/srep39158
Keywords: hydrothermal vents, ultraslow-spreading ridges, ecology, deep-sea mining
Organisations: Ocean and Earth Science, Marine Geoscience
ePrint ID: 403238
Date :
Date Event
18 November 2016Accepted/In Press
14 December 2016Published
Date Deposited: 24 Nov 2016 14:43
Last Modified: 22 Feb 2017 02:40
Projects:
Biogeography and ecology of the first known deep-sea hydrothermal vent site on the ultraslow-spreading Southwest Indian Ridge
Funded by: NERC (NE/H012087/1)
Led by: Jonathan Timothy Copley
1 August 2011 to 31 July 2012
Further Information:Google Scholar
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/403238

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