Macro-ecology of gulf of Mexico cold seeps

Erik E. Cordes, Derk C. Bergquist, Charles R. Fisher

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

83 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Shortly after the discovery of chemosynthetic ecosystems at deep-sea hydrothermal vents, similar ecosystems were found at cold seeps in the Gulf of Mexico. Over the past two decades, these sites have become model systems for understanding the physiology of the symbiont-containing megafauna and the ecology of seep communities worldwide. Symbiont-containing bivalves and siboglinid polychaetes dominate the communities, including five bathymodiolin mussel species and six vestimentiferan (siboglinid polychaete) species in the Gulf of Mexico. The mussels include the first described examples of methanotrophic symbiosis and dual methanotrophic/thiotrophic symbiosis. Studies with the vestimentiferans have demonstrated their potential for extreme longevity and their ability to use posterior structures for subsurface exchange of dissolved metabolites. Ecological investigations have demonstrated that the vestimentiferans function as ecosystem engineers and identified a community succession sequence from a specialized high-biomass endemic community to a low-biomass community of background fauna over the life of a hydrocarbon seep site.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)143-168
Number of pages26
JournalAnnual Review of Marine Science
Volume1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2009

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cold seep
ecology
symbiont
symbiosis
ecosystem
hydrocarbon seep
hydrothermal vent
biomass
polychaete
physiology
deep sea
bivalve
metabolite
fauna
gulf

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oceanography

Cite this

Cordes, Erik E. ; Bergquist, Derk C. ; Fisher, Charles R. / Macro-ecology of gulf of Mexico cold seeps. In: Annual Review of Marine Science. 2009 ; Vol. 1. pp. 143-168.
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Macro-ecology of gulf of Mexico cold seeps. / Cordes, Erik E.; Bergquist, Derk C.; Fisher, Charles R.

In: Annual Review of Marine Science, Vol. 1, 01.12.2009, p. 143-168.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

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AU - Bergquist, Derk C.

AU - Fisher, Charles R.

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N2 - Shortly after the discovery of chemosynthetic ecosystems at deep-sea hydrothermal vents, similar ecosystems were found at cold seeps in the Gulf of Mexico. Over the past two decades, these sites have become model systems for understanding the physiology of the symbiont-containing megafauna and the ecology of seep communities worldwide. Symbiont-containing bivalves and siboglinid polychaetes dominate the communities, including five bathymodiolin mussel species and six vestimentiferan (siboglinid polychaete) species in the Gulf of Mexico. The mussels include the first described examples of methanotrophic symbiosis and dual methanotrophic/thiotrophic symbiosis. Studies with the vestimentiferans have demonstrated their potential for extreme longevity and their ability to use posterior structures for subsurface exchange of dissolved metabolites. Ecological investigations have demonstrated that the vestimentiferans function as ecosystem engineers and identified a community succession sequence from a specialized high-biomass endemic community to a low-biomass community of background fauna over the life of a hydrocarbon seep site.

AB - Shortly after the discovery of chemosynthetic ecosystems at deep-sea hydrothermal vents, similar ecosystems were found at cold seeps in the Gulf of Mexico. Over the past two decades, these sites have become model systems for understanding the physiology of the symbiont-containing megafauna and the ecology of seep communities worldwide. Symbiont-containing bivalves and siboglinid polychaetes dominate the communities, including five bathymodiolin mussel species and six vestimentiferan (siboglinid polychaete) species in the Gulf of Mexico. The mussels include the first described examples of methanotrophic symbiosis and dual methanotrophic/thiotrophic symbiosis. Studies with the vestimentiferans have demonstrated their potential for extreme longevity and their ability to use posterior structures for subsurface exchange of dissolved metabolites. Ecological investigations have demonstrated that the vestimentiferans function as ecosystem engineers and identified a community succession sequence from a specialized high-biomass endemic community to a low-biomass community of background fauna over the life of a hydrocarbon seep site.

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