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Ecology and biogeography of free-living nematodes associated with chemosynthetic environments in the deep sea: A review
Vanreusel, A.; De Groote, A.; Gollner, S.; Bright, M. (2010). Ecology and biogeography of free-living nematodes associated with chemosynthetic environments in the deep sea: A review. PLoS One 5(8): e12449 (1-15).
In: PLoS One. Public Library of Science: San Francisco. ISSN 1932-6203; e-ISSN 1932-6203, meer
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Vanreusel, A., meer
  • De Groote, A., meer
  • Gollner, S.
  • Bright, M.

    Background: Here, insight is provided into the present knowledge on free-living nematodes associated with chemosynthetic environments in the deep sea. It was investigated if the same trends of high standing stock, low diversity, and the dominance of a specialized fauna, as observed for macro-invertebrates, are also present in the nematodes in both vents and seeps.Methodology: This review is based on existing literature, in combination with integrated analysis of datasets, obtained through the Census of Marine Life program on Biogeography of Deep-Water Chemosynthetic Ecosystems (ChEss).Findings: Nematodes are often thriving in the sulphidic sediments of deep cold seeps, with standing stock values ocassionaly exceeding largely the numbers at background sites. Vents seem not characterized by elevated densities. Both chemosynthetic driven ecosystems are showing low nematode diversity, and high dominance of single species. Genera richness seems inversely correlated to vent and seep fluid emissions, associated with distinct habitat types. Deep-sea cold seeps and hydrothermal vents are, however, highly dissimilar in terms of community composition and dominant taxa. There is no unique affinity of particular nematode taxa with seeps or vents.Conclusions: It seems that shallow water relatives, rather than typical deep-sea taxa, have successfully colonized the reduced sediments of seeps at large water depth. For vents, the taxonomic similarity with adjacent regular sediments is much higher, supporting rather the importance of local adaptation, than that of long distance distribution. Likely the ephemeral nature of vents, its long distance offshore and the absence of pelagic transport mechanisms, have prevented so far the establishment of a successful and typical vent nematode fauna. Some future perspectives in meiofauna research are provided in order to get a more integrated picture of vent and seep biological processes, including all components of the marine ecosystem.

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