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A trait-based approach to the biodiversity of deep-sea hydrothermal-vent ecosystems

A trait-based approach to the biodiversity of deep-sea hydrothermal-vent ecosystems
A trait-based approach to the biodiversity of deep-sea hydrothermal-vent ecosystems
The study of the functional component of biodiversity has experienced a recent resurgence in popularity because of its capacity to inform our understanding of the relationships between species and their environments for their conservation and management. Ecological traits, such as body size and trophic level, can be used to compare communities that differ taxonomically but share traits. Hydrothermal-vent communities are well suited to a trait-based approach because they are home to highly endemic species. To date, vent ecologists have instead focused on taxonomic and phylogenetic biodiversity patterns, grouping vents into distinct biogeographic provinces. The relative biodiversity of these provinces can be compared using traits as a common, cross-province ‘currency’. Here, we use a trait-based approach to study the biodiversity of active deep-sea hydrothermal-vent ecosystems, gaining insights relevant for ecology and conservation science. First, we identify traits shaping the performance of a vent species within its physico-chemically extreme environment, as well as its influence on ecological processes. Of these traits, we score those for which relevant information is available for the majority of vent fauna, using available literature and expert advice. We first focus on the well-sampled vent fields of the Juan de Fuca Ridge region in the Northeast Pacific Ocean. Here, our investigations showcase hydrothermal vents as model, ‘untouched’ ecosystems for developing ecological theory for conservation. This potential leads us to create a global trait database for vent fauna with an international pool of expert contributors - ‘sFDvent’. To accompany the trait, taxonomic, and occupancy information in sFDvent, we also extract, map, and analyse large-scale environmental data of potential influence on the ecology of vent communities. Finally, we use trait, taxonomic, and environmental characteristics of well-studied vent regions to quantify their relative uniqueness for conservation purposes. These dimensions of uniqueness are not spatially congruent, suggesting that a multidimensional approach is critical to ensure that priority areas for conservation and management are not missed. By 2020, deep-sea mining is expected to begin on a commercial scale, exploiting polymetallic sulfides formed from hydrothermal-vent precipitates. We hope that our investigations will inform hydrothermal-vent management policies and guidelines before the first human footprints are left on these unique, untouched ecosystems.
University of Southampton
Chapman, Abbie Sarah Amy
5e63f909-bd6c-4bdd-a9e3-f81af0978a42
Chapman, Abbie Sarah Amy
5e63f909-bd6c-4bdd-a9e3-f81af0978a42
Bates, Amanda E.
a96e267d-6d22-4232-b7ed-ce4e448a2a34

Chapman, Abbie Sarah Amy (2018) A trait-based approach to the biodiversity of deep-sea hydrothermal-vent ecosystems. University of Southampton, Doctoral Thesis, 358pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

The study of the functional component of biodiversity has experienced a recent resurgence in popularity because of its capacity to inform our understanding of the relationships between species and their environments for their conservation and management. Ecological traits, such as body size and trophic level, can be used to compare communities that differ taxonomically but share traits. Hydrothermal-vent communities are well suited to a trait-based approach because they are home to highly endemic species. To date, vent ecologists have instead focused on taxonomic and phylogenetic biodiversity patterns, grouping vents into distinct biogeographic provinces. The relative biodiversity of these provinces can be compared using traits as a common, cross-province ‘currency’. Here, we use a trait-based approach to study the biodiversity of active deep-sea hydrothermal-vent ecosystems, gaining insights relevant for ecology and conservation science. First, we identify traits shaping the performance of a vent species within its physico-chemically extreme environment, as well as its influence on ecological processes. Of these traits, we score those for which relevant information is available for the majority of vent fauna, using available literature and expert advice. We first focus on the well-sampled vent fields of the Juan de Fuca Ridge region in the Northeast Pacific Ocean. Here, our investigations showcase hydrothermal vents as model, ‘untouched’ ecosystems for developing ecological theory for conservation. This potential leads us to create a global trait database for vent fauna with an international pool of expert contributors - ‘sFDvent’. To accompany the trait, taxonomic, and occupancy information in sFDvent, we also extract, map, and analyse large-scale environmental data of potential influence on the ecology of vent communities. Finally, we use trait, taxonomic, and environmental characteristics of well-studied vent regions to quantify their relative uniqueness for conservation purposes. These dimensions of uniqueness are not spatially congruent, suggesting that a multidimensional approach is critical to ensure that priority areas for conservation and management are not missed. By 2020, deep-sea mining is expected to begin on a commercial scale, exploiting polymetallic sulfides formed from hydrothermal-vent precipitates. We hope that our investigations will inform hydrothermal-vent management policies and guidelines before the first human footprints are left on these unique, untouched ecosystems.

Text
Chapman, Abbie PhD Thesis Jan 2019 - Version of Record
Restricted to Repository staff only until 28 January 2021.
Available under License University of Southampton Thesis Licence.

More information

Published date: September 2018

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 428711
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/428711
PURE UUID: 42bb4604-cd94-46d6-baa6-12a3cc728621
ORCID for Abbie Sarah Amy Chapman: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-7812-2046

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 07 Mar 2019 17:30
Last modified: 07 Jan 2020 17:33

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