Marine Science Faculty Publications


Alex D. Rogers, University of Oxford
Paul A. Tyler, University of Southampton
Douglas P. Connelly, Natural Environment Research Council, National Oceanography Centre, Southampton
Jon T. Copley, University of Southampton
Rachael James, Natural Environment Research Council, National Oceanography Centre, Southampton
Robert D. Larter, British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge
Katrin Linse, British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge
Rachel A. Mills, University of Southampton
Alfredo Naveira Garabato, University of Southampton
Richard D. Pancost, University of Bristol
David A. Pearce, British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge
Nicholas V. Polunin, Newcastle University
Christopher R. German, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole
Timothy Shank, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole
Philipp H. Boersch-Supan, University of Oxford
Belinda J. Alker, Natural Environment Research Council, National Oceanography Centre, Southampton
Alfred Aquilina, University of Southampton
Sarah A. Bennett, Natural Environment Research Council, National Oceanography Centre, Southampton
Andrew Clarke, British Antarctic Survey
Robert J. Dinley, University of Southampton
Alastair G. C. Graham, British Antarctic Survey, CambridgeFollow
Darryl R. Green, Natural Environment Research Council, National Oceanography Centre, Southampton
Jeffrey A. Hawkes, University of Southampton
Laura Hepburn, University of Southampton
Ana Hilario, Universidade de Aveiro
Veerle A. Huvenne, Natural Environment Research Council, National Oceanography Centre, Southampton
Leigh Marsh, University of Southampton
Eva Ramirez-Llodra, Institut de Ciències del Mar, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Barcelona
William D. Reid, Newcastle University
Christopher N. Roterman, University of Oxford
Christopher J. Sweeting, Newcastle University
Sven Thatje, University of Southampton
Katrin Zwirglmaier, British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge

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Since the first discovery of deep-sea hydrothermal vents along the Galápagos Rift in 1977, numerous vent sites and endemic faunal assemblages have been found along mid-ocean ridges and back-arc basins at low to mid latitudes. These discoveries have suggested the existence of separate biogeographic provinces in the Atlantic and the North West Pacific, the existence of a province including the South West Pacific and Indian Ocean, and a separation of the North East Pacific, North East Pacific Rise, and South East Pacific Rise. The Southern Ocean is known to be a region of high deep-sea species diversity and centre of origin for the global deep-sea fauna. It has also been proposed as a gateway connecting hydrothermal vents in different oceans but is little explored because of extreme conditions. Since 2009 we have explored two segments of the East Scotia Ridge (ESR) in the Southern Ocean using a remotely operated vehicle. In each segment we located deep-sea hydrothermal vents hosting high-temperature black smokers up to 382.8°C and diffuse venting. The chemosynthetic ecosystems hosted by these vents are dominated by a new yeti crab (Kiwa n. sp.), stalked barnacles, limpets, peltospiroid gastropods, anemones, and a predatory sea star. Taxa abundant in vent ecosystems in other oceans, including polychaete worms (Siboglinidae), bathymodiolid mussels, and alvinocaridid shrimps, are absent from the ESR vents. These groups, except the Siboglinidae, possess planktotrophic larvae, rare in Antarctic marine invertebrates, suggesting that the environmental conditions of the Southern Ocean may act as a dispersal filter for vent taxa. Evidence from the distinctive fauna, the unique community structure, and multivariate analyses suggest that the Antarctic vent ecosystems represent a new vent biogeographic province. However, multivariate analyses of species present at the ESR and at other deep-sea hydrothermal vents globally indicate that vent biogeography is more complex than previously recognised.

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PLOS Biology, v. 10, issue 1, art. e1001234

© 2012 Rogers et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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