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Fauna of the Kemp Caldera and its upper bathyal hydrothermal vents (South Sandwich Arc, Antarctica)

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Nick Polunin, Dr William Reid



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Faunal assemblages at hydrothermal vents associated with island-arc volcanism are less well-known than those at vents on mid-ocean ridges and back-arc spreading centres. This study characterises chemosynthetic biotopes at active hydrothermal vents discovered at the Kemp Caldera in the South Sandwich Arc. The caldera hosts sulphur and anhydrite vent chimneys in 1375 to 1487 m depth, which emit sulphide-rich fluids with temperatures up to 212 °C, and the microbial community of water samples in the buoyant plume rising from the vents was dominated by sulphur-oxidising Gammaproteobacteria. A total of 12 macro- and megafaunal taxa dependent on hydrothermal activity were collected in these biotopes, of which seven species were known from the East Scotia Ridge vents and three species from vents outside the Southern Ocean. Faunal assemblages were dominated by large vesicomyid clams, actinostolid anemones, Sericosura sea spiders, and lepetodrilid and cocculinid limpets, but several taxa abundant at nearby East Scotia Ridge hydrothermal vents were rare such as the stalked barnacle Neolepas scotiaensis. Multivariate analysis of fauna at Kemp Caldera and vents in neighbouring areas indicated that the Kemp Caldera is most similar to vent fields in the previously established Southern Ocean vent biogeographic province, showing that the species composition at island-arc hydrothermal vents can be distinct from nearby seafloor-spreading systems. δ13C and δ15N isotope values of megafaunal species analysed from the Kemp Caldera were similar to those of the same or related species at other vent fields, but none of the fauna sampled for δ13C analysis at Kemp Caldera had values indicating nutritional dependence on Epsilonproteobacteria, unlike fauna at other island-arc hydrothermal vents.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Linse K, Copley J, Connelly DP, Larter RD, Pearce DA, Polunin NVC, Rogers AD, Chen C, Clarke A, Glover A, Graham ACC, Huvenne VAI, Marsh L, Reid WDK, Roterman CN, Sweeting CJ, Zwirglmaier K, Tyler PA

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Royal Society Open Science

Year: 2019

Volume: 6

Issue: 11

Online publication date: 20/11/2019

Acceptance date: 23/10/2019

Date deposited: 21/11/2019

ISSN (electronic): 2054-5703

Publisher: The Royal Society


DOI: 10.1098/rsos.191501


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