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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 190:89-112 (1999)  -  doi:10.3354/meps190089

Physical and chemical factors influencing species distributions on hydrothermal sulfide edifices of the Juan de Fuca Ridge, northeast Pacific

Jozée Sarrazin1,*, S. Kim Juniper2, Gary Massoth3, Pierre Legendre4

1Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 360 Woods Hole Road, MS#8, McLean Lab 201, Woods Hole, Massachusetts 02543, USA
2Geotop/University of Québec at Montréal, CP 8888, succ. Centre-Ville, Montréal, Québec H3C 3P8, Canada
3Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 7600 Sand Point Way NE,Seattle, Washington 98115-0070, USA
4Département de Sciences Biologiques, Université de Montréal, CP 6128, succ. Centre-Ville, Montréal, Québec H3C 3J7, Canada

ABSTRACT: This study examines relationships between hydrothermal vent species and their surrounding physical and chemical environment on 2 high-temperature sulfide edifices of the Juan de Fuca Ridge (northeast Pacific). Video imagery and in situ temperature and chemical information were acquired during 2 remotely operated vehicle (ROV) dive programs in 1993 and 1995, for a total of 78 scans. Statistical analyses of environmental and faunal data reveal a heterogeneous distribution (correspondence analyses) of hydrothermal species and demonstrate a significant influence of local physical and chemical conditions on species distributions (canonical correspondence analyses). Results confirm the importance of hydrogen sulfide to the distribution of vent species as well as the importance of complex variables such as visible flow intensity and substratum type. Since less than 30% of the variance in species distribution could be explained by the measured in situ factors, we conclude by stressing the need to evaluate effects of other unmeasured environmental factors such as dissolved oxygen, nitrogen compounds, food availability and biological interactions.

KEY WORDS: Hydrothermal vent ecology · Physical and chemical factors · In situ measurements · Habitat characterization · Species distribution · Sulfide edifice · Statistical analyses · Fluid flow · Substratum types · Mosaic habitat

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