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Biogeosciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2016-318
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2016-318
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 31 Aug 2016

Submitted as: research article | 31 Aug 2016

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It has been under review for the journal Biogeosciences (BG). The revised manuscript was not accepted.

Hydrothermal activity lowers trophic diversity in Antarctic sedimented hydrothermal vents

James B. Bell1,2, William D. K. Reid3, David A. Pearce4, Adrian G. Glover2, Christopher J. Sweeting5, Jason Newton6, and Clare Woulds1 James B. Bell et al.
  • 1School of Geography & Water@Leeds, University of Leeds, LS2 9JT, UK
  • 2Life Sciences Dept., Natural History Museum, Cromwell Rd, London SW7 5BD, UK
  • 3Ridley Building, School of Biology, Newcastle University, NE1 7RU, UK
  • 4Applied Sciences, Northumbria University, Newcastle, NE1 8ST, UK
  • 5Ridley Building, School of Marine Science and Technology, Newcastle University, NE1 7RU, UK
  • 6NERC Life Sciences Mass Spectrometry Facility, SUERC, East Kilbride G75 0QF, UK

Abstract. Sedimented hydrothermal vents are those in which hydrothermal fluid vents through sediment and are among the least studied deep-sea ecosystems. We present a combination of microbial and biochemical data to assess trophodynamics between and within hydrothermally active and off-vent areas of the Bransfield Strait (1050–1647 m depth). Microbial composition, biomass and fatty acid signatures varied widely between and within vent and non-vent sites and provided evidence of diverse metabolic activity. Several species showed diverse feeding strategies and occupied different trophic positions in vent and non-vent areas and stable isotope values of consumers were generally not consistent with feeding structure morphology. Niche area and the diversity of microbial fatty acids reflected trends in species diversity and was lowest at the most hydrothermally active site. Faunal utilisation of chemosynthetic activity was relatively limited but was detected at both vent and non-vent sites as evidenced by carbon and sulphur isotopic signatures, suggesting that the hydrothermal activity can affect trophodynamics over a much wider area than previously thought.

James B. Bell et al.
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Interactive discussion
Status: closed
Status: closed
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
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James B. Bell et al.
James B. Bell et al.
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Short summary
Areas of the deep-seafloor where hydrothermal fluid flows through sediment are amongst the least studied environments on the planet. We studied the faunal and microbial food webs at one such system in the Southern Ocean and found evidence of a wide range of organic matter fixation pathways, both at vent sites and non-vent sites. Although faunal uptake of in situ food production was low, it was much wider spread than previously realised, raising important questions about seafloor food webs.
Areas of the deep-seafloor where hydrothermal fluid flows through sediment are amongst the least...
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