, Volume 548, Issue 1, pp 191–205 | Cite as

Enrichment in Trace Metals (Al, Mn, Co, Cu, Mo, Cd, Fe, Zn, Pb and Hg) of Macro-Invertebrate Habitats at Hydrothermal Vents Along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge

  • Enikõ Kádár
  • Valentina Costa
  • Ines Martins
  • Ricardo Serrao Santos
  • Jonathan J. Powell
Primary Research Paper


The present study describes several features of the aquatic environment with the emphasis on the total vs. filter-passing fraction (FP) of heavy metals in microhabitats of two typical deep-sea vent organisms: the filter-feeder, symbiont-bearing Bathymodiolus and the grazer shrimps Rimicaris/Mirocaris from the Mid-Atlantic Ridge (MAR). The concentration of 10 trace elements: Al, Mn, Co, Cu, Mo, Cd, Fe, Zn, Pb and Hg was explored highlighting common and distinctive features among the five hydrothermal vent sites of the MAR: Menez Gwen, Lucky Strike, Rainbow, Saldanha, and Menez Hom that are all geo-chemically different when looking at the undiluted hydrothermal fluid composition. The drop off in the percentage of FP from total metal concentration in mussel and/or shrimp inhabited water samples (in mussel beds at Rainbow, for instance, FP fraction of Fe was below 23%, Zn 24 %, Al 65%, Cu 70%, and Mn 89%) as compared to non-inhabited areas (where 94% of the Fe, 90% of the Zn, 100% of the other metals was in the FP fraction) may indicate an influence of vent organisms on their habitat’s chemistry, which in turn may determine adaptational strategies to elevated levels of toxic heavy metals. Predominance of particulate fraction over the soluble metals, jointly with the morphological structure and elemental composition of typical particles in these vent habitats suggest a more limited metal bioavailability to vent organisms as previously thought. In addition, it is evoked that vent invertebrates may have developed highly efficient metal-handling strategies targeting particulate phase of various metals present in the mixing zones that enables their survival under these extreme conditions.


hydrothermal vents mixing zone trace metal bioavailability Bathymodiolus azoricus Rimicaris exoculata Mirocaris fortunata 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Enikõ Kádár
    • 1
  • Valentina Costa
    • 1
  • Ines Martins
    • 1
  • Ricardo Serrao Santos
    • 2
  • Jonathan J. Powell
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Oceanography and FisheriesUniversity of AzoresHortaPortugal
  2. 2.Department of Nutrition and Dietetics Kings College LondonLondonUnited Kingdom

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