Meiofaunal communities in hydrothermal vent and proximate non-vent habitats around neighboring seamounts on the Izu-Ogasawara Arc, western North Pacific Ocean
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The present study investigated spatiotemporal variations in meiofaunal abundance and composition at high taxonomic levels, and their associations with certain measures of food availability around hydrothermal vents on chimney structures and in adjacent non-vent fields in the calderas of three neighboring seamounts (Bayonnaise Knoll, Myojin Knoll, and Myojin-sho Caldera), in the Izu-Ogasawara Arc, western North Pacific Ocean. Total meiofaunal abundance in seafloor sediment at the bases of vent chimneys appeared to be greater than that in other non-vent habitats outside or inside the calderas of all seamounts, which was partly explained by temporal variations at the bases of the chimneys. There was no significant difference in the mean meiofaunal abundances among those habitats. A typical deep-sea meiofaunal composition (nematodes as the most abundant taxon, harpacticoid copepods as the second) was observed in the seafloor sediments in the non-vent fields, and even in the sediments at chimney bases. This was significantly different from the meiofaunal composition observed on the surfaces of vent chimneys, where copepods and their nauplii were most abundant. This spatial difference was significantly correlated with a difference in stable carbon isotope ratios (δ13C) of organic matter in sediment, suggesting that the availability of chemosynthetic food controls the spatial differences in meiofaunal composition around these hydrothermal vents, even at a high taxonomic level.
The authors are grateful to the crew and operation staff of the RV Natsushima and the ROV “Hyper-Dolphin” of the Japan Agency for Marine–Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC). Special thanks to Dr. D. Zeppilli and an undisclosed expert who kindly checked our manuscript. This study was partly funded by a grant from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (KAKENHI) program (grant number 26440246).
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors have no conflicts of interest.
Consent was obtained from all participants in the study.
All applicable international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed. No collecting permits are required in Japan for collection of meiofaunal animals. No experiments concerning live animals were conducted in the present study. This article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by any of the authors.
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