Hydrothermal vents are areas of geothermal activity, generally found along tectonic boundaries where volcanic activities prevail (Corliss et al., 1979; Van Dover et al., 2002). Since their discovery (Lonsdale, 1977), hydrothermal vents have been extensively studied with many new organisms, of new and existing taxa, have been described. These vents provide insight in regards to areas of high endemism as well as unique organismal adaptations (Zierenberg et al., 2000; Biscoito et al., 2002; Van Dover et al.¸2002; Minic and Herve, 2004). This is because the ecosystem is driven by chemoautotrophic bacteria that have sulphur-oxidising capabilities to release energy from the abundant hydrogen sulphide that pollutes these vent sites (Cavanaugh et al., 1981; Kicklighter et al., 2004).With this considered, this blog will attempt to look at different feeding strategies of four different species, all with different trophic categorisation, to explore their alternative ways to feed in such an extreme environment. Each of these is largely associated with vestimentiferan-dominated vent sites.The four species studied in this blog are:
- Riftia pachyptila, a large tubeworm that is found in very abundance it hydrothermal sites
- Lepetodrilus elevates, a gastropod mollusc that is the most abundant of its genus at hydrothermal vents
- Bythograea thermydron, a brachyuran crab that is commonly associated with vent sites
- Thermarces cerberus, the dominant zoarcid fish that feeds in vent site environments
Biscoito, M., Segonzac, M., Almeida, A.J., Desbruyeres, D., Geistdoerfer, P., Turnipseed, M. & Van Dover, C. (2002) Fishes from the hydrothermal vents and cold seeps – an update. Cahiers De Biologie Marine, 43, 359-362.
Cavanaugh, C., Gardiner, S., Jones, M., Jannasch, H. & Waterbury, J. (1981) Prokaryotic cells in the hydrothermal vent tube worm riftia-pachyptila jones – possible chemoautotrophic symbionts. Science, 213, 340-342.
Corliss, J.B., Dymond, J., Gordon, L.I., Edmond, J.M., Herzen, R.P.V., Ballard, R.D., Green, K., Williams, D., Bainbridge, A., Crane, K. & Vanandel, T.H. (1979) Submarine thermal springs on the galapagos rift. Science, 203, 1073-1083.
Kicklighter, C.E., Fisher, C.R. & Hay, M.E. (2004) Chemical defense of hydrothermal vent and hydrocarbon seep organisms: A preliminary assessment using shallow-water consumers. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 275, 11-19.
Lonsdale, P. (1977) Clustering of suspension-feeding macrobenthos near abyssal hydrothermal vents at oceanic spreading centers. Deep-Sea Research, 24, 857-&.
Minic, Z. & Herve, G. (2004) Biochemical and enzymological aspects of the symbiosis between the deep-sea tubeworm riftia pachyptila and its bacterial endosymbiont. European Journal of Biochemistry, 271, 3093-3102.
Van Dover, C., German, C., Speer, K., Parson, L. & Vrijenhoek, R. (2002) Marine biology – evolution and biogeography of deep-sea vent and seep invertebrates. Science, 295, 1253-1257.
Zierenberg, R., Adams, M. & Arp, A. (2000) Life in extreme environments: Hydrothermal vents. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 97, 12961-12962.