, Volume 57, Issue 2, pp 127-133

Larval dispersal of a deep-sea hydrothermal vent bivalve from the Galápagos Rift

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Abstract

The prodissoconch morphology of an unclassified mytilid from a hydrothermal vent on the Galápagos Rift indicates the presence of a planktotrophic larval stage with longrange dispersal capabilities. Recorded abyssal currents are probably sufficient to transport such larvae hundreds of kilometers. It is suggested that one or more aspects of the unusual biological or physico-chemical conditions (such as high microbial densities, elevated water temperatures, and hydrogen sulfide concentrations) encountered at vents, provide a stimulus to larval settlement. Such a behavioral response, perhaps coupled with a “gregarious settling” response, would provide a means of concentrating relatively sedentary organisms in and around these restricted, geographically isolated regions.

Communicated by I. Morris, West Boothbay Harbor