The present study investigated spatiotemporal variations in meiofaunal abundance and composition at high taxonomic levels, and their associations with certain measures of food availability around hydrothermal vents on chimney structures and in adjacent non-vent fields in the calderas of three neighboring seamounts (Bayonnaise Knoll, Myojin Knoll, and Myojin-sho Caldera), in the Izu-Ogasawara Arc, western North Pacific Ocean. Total meiofaunal abundance in seafloor sediment at the bases of vent chimneys appeared to be greater than that in other non-vent habitats outside or inside the calderas of all seamounts, which was partly explained by temporal variations at the bases of the chimneys. There was no significant difference in the mean meiofaunal abundances among those habitats. A typical deep-sea meiofaunal composition (nematodes as the most abundant taxon, harpacticoid copepods as the second) was observed in the seafloor sediments in the non-vent fields, and even in the sediments at chimney bases. This was significantly different from the meiofaunal composition observed on the surfaces of vent chimneys, where copepods and their nauplii were most abundant. This spatial difference was significantly correlated with a difference in stable carbon isotope ratios (δ13C) of organic matter in sediment, suggesting that the availability of chemosynthetic food controls the spatial differences in meiofaunal composition around these hydrothermal vents, even at a high taxonomic level.
Marine Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Aug 18, 2017
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