15. Biotic Interactions and Feedback Processes in Deep-Sea Hydrothermal Vent Ecosystems

  1. Erik Kristensen,
  2. Ralf R. Haese and
  3. Joel E. Kostka
  1. R. J. Léveillé,
  2. C. Levesque and
  3. S. K. Juniper

Published Online: 23 MAR 2013

DOI: 10.1029/CE060p0299

Interactions Between Macro- and Microorganisms in Marine Sediments

Interactions Between Macro- and Microorganisms in Marine Sediments

How to Cite

Léveillé, R. J., Levesque, C. and Juniper, S. K. (2005) Biotic Interactions and Feedback Processes in Deep-Sea Hydrothermal Vent Ecosystems, in Interactions Between Macro- and Microorganisms in Marine Sediments (eds E. Kristensen, R. R. Haese and J. E. Kostka), American Geophysical Union, Washington, D. C.. doi: 10.1029/CE060p0299

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 23 MAR 2013
  2. Published Print: 1 JAN 2005

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780875902746

Online ISBN: 9781118665442

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Keywords:

  • Interactions between macro- and microorganisms in marine sediments

Summary

Deep-sea hydrothermal vents are unique benthic environments, characterized by a highly localized and abundant biomass, numerous novel and endemic species, as well as steep and rapidly changing physico-chemical gradients. While abiotic factors may appear to be the dominant controls on ecosystem structure and productivity in this highly dynamic environment, biotic interactions involving microorganisms, meiofauna, and macrofauna are also very important structuring components. Hydrothermal vent fauna interact directly with microorganisms via symbiosis, which provides nutrition for many of the dominant invertebrate species, as well as by directly grazing upon microbial populations. In addition, fauna may interact indirectly with microorganisms by building and affecting physical structures, by modifying the geochemical environment, and by producing various inorganic and organic particulate and dissolved waste products. Meiofauna at vents may act as an important link between macro- and microorganisms, though our knowledge of this group is limited. In this chapter, we review recent evidence for important interactions between macro-, meio-, and microorganisms, and between these organisms and the vent environment. We also focus on the sulfide worm Paralvinella sulfincola, which is a pioneer species, colonizing active hydrothermal sulfide chimneys along the Northeast Pacific Ocean ridge systems. The worm interacts with its environment and with other organisms in ways that significantly modify the available habitat and food resources. In this context, we consider this hydrothermal vent species as a model system of ecosystem engineering and attempt to elucidate feedback processes related to these interactions.