MEPS - Vol. 305 - Feature article

Hydrothermal vent limpets at the Juan de Fuca Ridge attain densities of 300 000 ind. m–2 in the mixing zone, where fluid temperatures fluctuate between 5 and 15°C. Photo: University of Victoria and I. R. MacDonald at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi

Amanda E. Bates, Verena Tunnicliffe, Raymond W. Lee

 

Role of thermal conditions in habitat selection by hydrothermal vent gastropods

 

Gastropods thrive in high numbers around hydrothermal vents on Juan de Fuca Ridge. Bates, Tunnicliffe & Lee studied the behaviour of 3 vent gastropods in shipboard pressure vessels and in situ, and show that their small-scale spatial distributions are determined by selection of moderate thermal ranges and avoidance of fluids warmer than 15°C. In the mixing zone between hydrothermal and deep-sea fluids, high variability in abiotic factors may pose greater restrictions on these species than mean fluid heat.

 

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