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Influence of CH4 and H2S availability on symbiont distribution, carbon assimilation and transfer in the dual symbiotic vent mussel Bathymodiolus azoricus
Riou, V.; Halary, S.; Duperron, S.; Bouillon, S.; Elskens, M.; Bettencourt, R.; Santos, R.S.; Dehairs, F.; Colaço, A. (2008). Influence of CH4 and H2S availability on symbiont distribution, carbon assimilation and transfer in the dual symbiotic vent mussel Bathymodiolus azoricus. Biogeosciences 5(6): 1681-1691. hdl.handle.net/10.5194/bg-5-1681-2008
In: Gattuso, J.P.; Kesselmeier, J. (Ed.) Biogeosciences. Copernicus Publications: Göttingen. ISSN 1726-4170, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keyword
    Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Riou, V., more
  • Halary, S.
  • Duperron, S.
  • Bouillon, S., more
  • Elskens, M., more
  • Bettencourt, R.
  • Santos, R.S.
  • Dehairs, F., more
  • Colaço, A., more

Abstract
    High densities of mussels of the genus Bathymodiolus are present at hydrothermal vents of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. It was previously proposed that the chemistry at vent sites would affect their sulphide- and methane-oxidizing endosymbionts' abundance. In this study, we confirmed the latter assumption using fluorescence in situ hybridization on Bathymodiolus azoricus specimens maintained in a controlled laboratory environment at atmospheric pressure with one, both or none of the chemical substrates. A high level of symbiosis plasticity was observed, methane-oxidizers occupying between 4 and 39% of total bacterial area and both symbionts developing according to the presence or absence of their substrates. Using H13CO3- in the presence of sulphide, or 13CH4, we monitored carbon assimilation by the endosymbionts and its translocation to symbiont-free mussel tissues. Carbon was incorporated from methane and sulphide-oxidized inorganic carbon at rates 3 to 10 times slower in the host muscle tissue than in the symbiont-containing gill tissue. Both symbionts thus contribute actively to B. azoricus nutrition and adapt to the availability of their substrates. Further experiments with varying substrate concentrations using the same set-up should provide useful tools to study and even model the effects of changes in hydrothermal fluids on B. azoricus' chemosynthetic nutrition.

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