AB 3:271-281 (2008)  -  doi:10.3354/ab00085

Diversity of invertebrate colonists on simple and complex substrates at hydrothermal vents on the Juan de Fuca Ridge

Noreen Kelly*, Anna Metaxas

Department of Oceanography, Dalhousie University, 1355 Oxford St., Halifax B3H 4J1, Nova Scotia, Canada
*Email:

ABSTRACT: This study examines the role of complex physical substrate structure on the colonization of hydrothermal vent invertebrates to test the hypothesis that the diversity of colonizing species can be enhanced by the provision of complex physical structure. Colonization was studied over 1 yr intervals between 2001 and 2003 at 2 diffuse venting sites near Axial Volcano, on the Juan de Fuca Ridge (depth 1500 m), on 2 types of artificial substrates with the same planar area but different levels of structural complexity: a complex structure with interstitial spaces (sponge) and a mimic of the seafloor (basalt). Colonist assemblages were compared between substrate types using univariate and multivariate measures of community composition. While the most abundant taxa on both substrate types were gastropods and polychaetes, colonist assemblages were significantly dissimilar between substrate types, due to the greater relative abundances of polychaete and meiofaunal species colonizing sponges. Overall, the faunal assemblages colonizing sponge substrates had higher species richness, diversity and evenness than assemblages colonizing the basalts. Our results suggest that complex physical substrate structure can facilitate the colonization of a diverse faunal assemblage at diffuse hydrothermal vents on the Juan de Fuca Ridge.


KEY WORDS: Substrate complexity · Colonization · Diversity · Richness · Evenness · Benthic invertebrates · Hydrothermal vent · Axial Volcano


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Cite this article as: Kelly N, Metaxas A (2008) Diversity of invertebrate colonists on simple and complex substrates at hydrothermal vents on the Juan de Fuca Ridge. Aquat Biol 3:271-281

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