Marine Science Faculty Publications

Are Midwater Shrimp Trapped in the Craters of Submarine Volcanoes by Hydrothermal Venting?

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Hydrothermal vents, Seamount, Shrimp, Submarine arc volcano

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The biology of Kick’em Jenny (KEJ) submarine volcano, part of the Lesser Antilles volcanic arc and located off the coast of Grenada in the Caribbean Sea, was studied during a cruise in 2003. Hydrothermal venting and an associated biological assemblage were discovered in the volcanic crater (∼250 m depth). Warm water with bubbling gas emanated through rock fissures and sediments. Shrimp (some of them swimming) were clustered at vents, while other individuals lay immobile on sediments. The shrimp fauna consisted of 3 mesopelagic species that had no prior record of benthic or vent association. We suggest that these midwater shrimp, from deeper water populations offshore, were trapped within the crater during their downward diel vertical migration. It is unknown whether they then succumbed to the hostile vent environment (immobile individuals) or whether they are potentially opportunistic vent residents (active individuals). Given the abundance of submarine arc volcanoes worldwide, this phenomenon suggests that volcanic arcs could be important interaction sites between oceanic midwater and vent communities.

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Deep Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers, v. 52, issue 8, p. 1528-1535