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Hydrothermal activity, functional diversity and chemoautotrophy are major drivers of seafloor carbon cycling
Bell, J.B.; Woulds, C.; van Oevelen, D. (2017). Hydrothermal activity, functional diversity and chemoautotrophy are major drivers of seafloor carbon cycling. NPG Scientific Reports 7(1): 12025. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-12291-w
In: Scientific Reports (Nature Publishing Group). Nature Publishing Group: London. ISSN 2045-2322; e-ISSN 2045-2322, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Bell, J.B.
  • Woulds, C.
  • van Oevelen, D., more

Abstract
    Hydrothermal vents are highly dynamic ecosystems and are unusually energy rich in the deep-sea. Insitu hydrothermal-based productivity combined with sinking photosynthetic organic matter in a softsedimentsetting creates geochemically diverse environments, which remain poorly studied. Here,we use comprehensive set of new and existing field observations to develop a quantitative ecosystemmodel of a deep-sea chemosynthetic ecosystem from the most southerly hydrothermal vent systemknown. We find evidence of chemosynthetic production supplementing the metazoan food web bothat vent sites and elsewhere in the Bransfield Strait. Endosymbiont-bearing fauna were very importantin supporting the transfer of chemosynthetic carbon into the food web, particularly to higher trophiclevels. Chemosynthetic production occurred at all sites to varying degrees but was generally only a smallcomponent of the total organic matter inputs to the food web, even in the most hydrothermally activeareas, owing in part to a low and patchy density of vent-endemic fauna. Differences between relativeabundance of faunal functional groups, resulting from environmental variability, were clear drivers ofdifferences in biogeochemical cycling and resulted in substantially different carbon processing patternsbetween habitats.

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