Oceanography > Issues > Archive > Volume 25, Issue 1

2012, Oceanography 25(1):234–245, http://dx.doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2012.22

Chemistry, Temperature, and Faunal Distributions at Diffuse-Flow Hydrothermal Vents: Comparison of Two Geologically Distinct Ridge Systems

Authors | Abstract | Full Article | Citation | References







Authors

George W. Luther III | School of Marine Science and Policy, College of Earth, Ocean and Environment, University of Delaware, Lewes, DE, USA

Amy Gartman | School of Marine Science and Policy, College of Earth, Ocean and Environment, University of Delaware, Lewes, DE, USA

Mustafa Yücel | Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Laboratory of Benthic Ecogeochemistry, Observatoire Océanologique de Banyuls, Banyuls-sur-mer, France

Andrew S. Madison | School of Marine Science and Policy, College of Earth, Ocean and Environment, University of Delaware, Lewes, DE, USA

Tommy S. Moore | Instituto Mediterráneo de Estudios Avanzandos, Esporles, Islas Balearas, Espaňa

Heather A. Nees | University of Delaware, Lewes, DE, USA

Donald B. Nuzzio | Analytical Instrument Systems, Inc., Flemington, NJ, USA

Arunima Sen | Biology Department, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, USA

Richard A. Lutz | Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, USA

Timothy M. Shank | Biology Department, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, MA, USA

Charles R. Fisher | Biology Department, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, USA

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Abstract

Diffuse-flow, low-temperature areas near hydrothermal vents support life via chemosynthesis: hydrogen sulfide (and other reduced chemical compounds) emanating from the subsurface is oxidized with bottom-water oxygen through bacterial mediation to fix carbon dioxide and produce biomass. This article reviews the in situ diffuse-flow chemistry (mainly H2S and O2) and temperature data collected in 2006 and 2009 along the Eastern Lau Spreading Center (ELSC), and from 2004 to 2008 at 9°N along the East Pacific Rise (9 N EPR), predominantly around macrofauna that contain endosymbionts at these two hydrothermal vent regions. More than 48,000 and 20,000 distinct chemical and temperature data points were collected with a multi-analyte electrochemical analyzer in the diffuse-flow waters at 9 N EPR and the ELSC, respectively. Despite their different geological settings and different macrofauna (two different species of snails and mussels at the ELSC versus two different species of tubeworms and mussels at 9 N EPR), there are similarities in the temperature and chemistry data, as well as in the distributions of organisms. The pattern of water chemistry preferred by the provannid snails (Alviniconcha spp., Ifremeria nautilei) and Bathymodiolus brevior at the ELSC is similar to the water chemistry pattern found for the siboglinid tubeworms (Tevnia jerichonana, Riftia pachyptila) and the Bathymodiolus thermophilus mussels at 9 N EPR. The eruptions at 9 N EPR in 2005 and 2006 resulted in increased H2S concentrations, increased H2S/T ratios, and an initial change in the dominant tubeworm species from Riftia pachyptila to Tevnia jerichonana after the eruption created new vent habitats. In 2005, two sites at 9 N EPR showed major increases in the H2S/T ratio from 2004, which suggested a probable eruption in this basalt-dominated system. At the ELSC, there was a decrease in the H2S/T ratio from northern to southern sites, which reflects the change in geological setting from basalt to andesite and the shallower water depths at the southern sites.

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Full Article

1.30 MB pdf

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Citation

Luther, G.W. III, A. Gartman, M. Yücel, A.S. Madison, T.S. Moore, H.A. Nees, D.B. Nuzzio, A. Sen, R.A. Lutz, T.M. Shank, and C.R. Fisher. 2012. Chemistry, temperature, and faunal distributions at diffuse-flow hydrothermal vents: Comparison of two geologically distinct ridge systems. Oceanography 25(1):234–245, http://dx.doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2012.22.

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