|Nutritional relations of deep-sea hydrothermal fields at the Mid-Atlantic Ridge: a stable isotope approach|Colaço, A.; Dehairs, F.A.; Desbruyères, D. (2002). Nutritional relations of deep-sea hydrothermal fields at the Mid-Atlantic Ridge: a stable isotope approach. Deep-Sea Res., Part 1, Oceanogr. Res. Pap. 49(2): 395-412. dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0967-0637(01)00060-7
In: Deep-Sea Research, Part I. Oceanographic Research Papers. Elsevier: Oxford. ISSN 0967-0637, more
Food webs; Hydrothermal springs; Isotopes; A, Mid-Atlantic Ridge [Marine Regions]; Marine
hydrothermal vents; food web; stable isotope; Mid-Atlantic Ridge
Nutritional relations among invertebrates from the hydrothermal vent fields at the Mid Atlantic Ridge (MAR) were studied via the carbon and nitrogen stable isotope approach. A large number of specimens of different vent species from different MAR vent fields were analysed, providing a general picture of the community structure. The isotopic composition at each vent field presents the same general trend. There is an obvious dichotomy of the trophic structure, with the mussels being significantly depleted in 13C and shrimps being significantly enriched in 13C. MAR and Pacific vent fields present the same picture, despite a different species composition. Primary consumers are divided into main groups according to their d13C signature: >-15 (shrimps) and <-20‰ (mussels). Vent predators are tightly linked to one or the other group, but a mixed diet cannot be excluded. Bathyal species are top predators, making incursions into the vent fields to profit from the large biomass. Taking into account the above associations, a descriptive trophic model was elaborated. At the base of the food chain the chemolithotrophic bacteria predominate. Four trophic levels were then distinguished: primary consumers, feeding only on bacteria; mixotrophs feeding on bacteria and small invertebrates; vent predators feeding only on small invertebrates; and finally top predators that are mainly constituted by deep-sea fauna.