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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 382:69-86 (2009)  -  DOI:

Seabed methane emissions and the habitat of frenulate tubeworms on the Captain Arutyunov mud volcano (Gulf of Cadiz)

S. Sommer*, P. Linke, O. Pfannkuche, T. Schleicher, J. Schneider v. Deimling, A. Reitz, M. Haeckel, S. Flögel, C. Hensen

Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences, IFM-GEOMAR, Wischhofstrasse 1–3, 24148 Kiel, Germany

ABSTRACT: Submarine mud volcanism represents an important pathway for methane from deeper reservoirs to the surface, where it enters the benthic carbon cycle. To quantify overall methane release from the Captain Arutyunov mud volcano (CAMV) and to assess the contribution of macrobenthic seep organisms to the regulation of the benthic methane flux, we linked water column methane concentrations, seabed methane emission and pore water geochemistry to the spatial distribution of seep biota. Prominent organisms of the CAMV seep biota were 3 different species of frenulate tubeworms. Seabed methane emission ranged from 0.001 to 0.66 mmol m–2 d–1. Dense patches of tubeworms were associated with the lowest seabed methane emission. Elevated methane emission was associated with a sporadic distribution of tubeworms and the occurrence of numerous mud clasts. Despite the presence of a large subsurface methane reservoir, the estimated total methane release from CAMV was low (0.006 × 106 mol yr–1). In addition to direct methane consumption by Siboglinum poseidoni, the tubeworms likely contribute to the retention of methane carbon in the sediment by affecting bacterial communities in the proximity of the tubes. The siboglinids create new meso-scale habitats on the sediment surface, increasing habitat heterogeneity and introducing niches for bacterial communities.

KEY WORDS: Mud volcano · Methane emission · Frenulate tubeworms · Habitat mapping

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Cite this article as: Sommer S, Linke P, Pfannkuche O, Schleicher T and others (2009) Seabed methane emissions and the habitat of frenulate tubeworms on the Captain Arutyunov mud volcano (Gulf of Cadiz). Mar Ecol Prog Ser 382:69-86.

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