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Trophodynamics at the Longqi hydrothermal vent field and comparison with the East Scotia and Central Indian Ridges

Lookup NU author(s): Dr William Reid, Dr Benjamin Wigham, Dr Johanna Weston, Dr Yiling Zhu



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


© 2020, The Author(s).The Longqi vent field, situated on the Southwest Indian Ridge, is ecologically distinct among known hydrothermal vents fields. It hosts a combination of previously unknown species and those shared at species or genus level with other hydrothermal vents on the Central Indian Ridge (CIR) and East Scotia Ridge (ESR). We investigate the size-based and trophodynamics of consumers at Longqi vent field and compared these with ESR and CIR vent fields using stable isotope analysis. Intra-specific variability in δ13C and δ15N values in relationship to shell length was observed in Gigantopelta aegis but absent in Chrysomallon squamiferum. A model-based clustering approach identified four trophic groupings at Longqi: species with the lowest δ13C values being supported by carbon fixed via the Calvin–Benson–Bassham cycle, the highest δ13C values being supported by the reductive tricarboxylic acid cycle and intermediate values potentially supported by a mix of these primary production sources. These clusters were driven by potential differences in resource partitioning. There were also differences in the spread of stable isotope values at the vent field level when comparing Bayesian stable isotope ellipse areas among Longqi, CIR and ESR vent fields. This was driven by a combination of the range in δ13C value of macrofauna, and the negative δ15N values which were only observed at Longqi and CIR vent fields. Many of the shared species or genera showed inter-vent field differences in stable isotope values which may be related to site-specific differences in food sources, geochemistry or potential intra-field competition. This study provides important information on the trophic ecology of hydrothermal vent macrofauna found within an area of seabed that is licensed for seabed mining exploration.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Reid WDK, Wigham BD, Marsh L, Weston JNJ, Zhu Y, Copley JT

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Marine Biology

Year: 2020

Volume: 167

Issue: 10

Online publication date: 03/09/2020

Acceptance date: 08/08/2020

Date deposited: 23/11/2020

ISSN (print): 0025-3162

ISSN (electronic): 1432-1793

Publisher: Springer


DOI: 10.1007/s00227-020-03755-1


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