Tubeworm succession at hydrothermal vents

Use of biogenic cues to reduce habitat selection error?

Lauren S. Mullineaux, Charles R. Fisher, Charles H. Peterson, Stephen W. Schaeffer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

64 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Species colonizing new deep-sea hydrothermal vents along the East Pacific Rise show a distinct successional sequence: pioneer assemblages dominated by the vestimentiferan tubeworm Tevnia jerichonana being subsequently invaded by another vestimentiferan Riftia pachyptila, and eventually the mussel Bathymodiolus thermophilus. Using a manipulative approach modified from shallow-water ecological studies, we test three alternative hypotheses to explain the initial colonization by T. jerichonana and its subsequent replacement by R. pachyptila. We show that R. pachyptila and another vestimentiferan, Oasisia alvinae, colonized new surfaces only if the surfaces also were colonized by T. jerichonana. This pattern does not appear to be due to restricted habitat tolerances or inferior dispersal capabilities of R. pachyptila and O. alvinae, and we argue the alternative explanation that T. jerichonana facilitates the settlement of the other two species and is eventually outcompeted by R. pachyptila. Unlike the classic model of community succession, in which facilitating species promote their own demise by modifying the environment to make it more hospitable for competitors, we suggest that T. jerichonana may produce a chemical substance that induces settlement of these competitors. This process of selecting habitat based on biogenic cues may be especially adaptive and widespread among later-successional species that occupy a physically variable and unpredictable environment. In these cases, the presence of weedy species implies some integrated period of environmental suitability, whereas an instantaneous assessment of physical habitat conditions, such as water temperature for vent tubeworms, provides a poorer predictor of long-term habitat suitability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)275-284
Number of pages10
JournalOecologia
Volume123
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2000

Fingerprint

hydrothermal vent
habitat preferences
habitat selection
habitat
habitats
chemical substance
deep sea
shallow water
water temperature
colonization
replacement
tolerance
mussels
new species
Pachyptila
water
testing

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

Cite this

Mullineaux, Lauren S. ; Fisher, Charles R. ; Peterson, Charles H. ; Schaeffer, Stephen W. / Tubeworm succession at hydrothermal vents : Use of biogenic cues to reduce habitat selection error?. In: Oecologia. 2000 ; Vol. 123, No. 2. pp. 275-284.
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Tubeworm succession at hydrothermal vents : Use of biogenic cues to reduce habitat selection error? / Mullineaux, Lauren S.; Fisher, Charles R.; Peterson, Charles H.; Schaeffer, Stephen W.

In: Oecologia, Vol. 123, No. 2, 01.01.2000, p. 275-284.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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