Cuvelier, Daphne, Sarrazin, Jozée, Colaço, Ana, Copley, Jon, Desbruyères, Daniel, Glover, Adrian G., Tyler, Paul and Serrão Santos, Ricardo
Distribution and spatial variation of hydrothermal faunal assemblages at Lucky Strike (Mid-Atlantic Ridge) revealed by high-resolution video image analysis
Deep-Sea Research I, 56, (11), . (doi:10.1016/j.dsr.2009.06.006).
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Whilst the fauna inhabiting hydrothermal vent structures in the Atlantic Ocean is reasonably well known, less is understood about the spatial distributions of the fauna in relation to abiotic and biotic factors. In this study, a major active hydrothermal edifice (Eiffel Tower, at 1690 m depth) on the Lucky Strike vent field (Mid-Atlantic Ridge (MAR)) was investigated. Video transects were carried out by ROV Victor 6000 and complete image coverage was acquired. Four distinct assemblages, ranging from dense larger-sized Bathymodiolus mussel beds to smaller-sized mussel clumps and alvinocaridid shrimps, and two types of substrata were defined based on high definition photographs and video imagery. To evaluate spatial variation, faunal distribution was mapped in three dimensions. A high degree of patchiness characterizes this 11 m high sulfide structure. The differences observed in assemblage and substratum distribution were related to habitat characteristics (fluid exits, depth and structure orientation). Gradients in community structure were observed, which coincided with an increasing distance from the fluid exits. A biological zonation model for the Eiffel Tower edifice was created in which faunal composition and distribution can be visually explained by the presence/absence of fluid exits.
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