The hydrothermal vent vestimentiferans Riftia pachyptila Jones, 1981 and Ridgeia piscesae Jones, 1985 live in habitats with different abundances of external CO2. R. pachyptila is found in areas with a high input of hydrothermal fluid, and therefore with a high [CO2]. R. piscesae is found in a range of habitats with low to high levels of hydrothermal fluid input, with a correspondingly broad range of CO2 concentrations. We examined the strategies for dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) use by the symbionts from these two species. R. pachyptila were collected from the East Pacific Rise (9°50'N; 104°20'W) in March 1996, and R. piscesae were collected from the Juan de Fuca Ridge (47°57'N; 129°07'W) during September of 1996 and 1997. The differences in the hosts' habitats were reflected by the internal pools of DIC in these organisms. The concentrations of DIC in coelomic fluid from R. piscesae were 3.1 to 10.5 mM, lower than those previously reported for R. pachyptila, which often exceed 30 mM. When symbionts from both hosts were incubated at in situ pressures, their carbon fixation rates increased with the extracellular concentration of CO2, and not HCO(3/-), and symbionts from R. piscesae had a higher affinity for CO2 than those from R. pachyptila (K( 1/2 ) of 7.6 μM versus 49 μM). Transmission electron micrographs showed that symbionts from R. piscesae lack carboxysomes, irrespective of the coelomic fluid [DIC] of their host. This suggests that the higher affinity for CO2 of R. piscesae symbionts may be their sole means of compensating for lower DIC concentrations. The δ13C values of tissues from R. piscesae with higher [DIC] in the coelomic fluid were more positive, opposite to the trend previously described for other autotrophs. Factors which may contribute to this trend are discussed.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Aquatic Science