Biological community and sediment fatty acids associated with the deep-sea whale skeleton at the Torishima Seamount
- Cite this article as:
- Naganuma, T., Wada, H. & Fujioka, K. J Oceanogr (1996) 52: 1. doi:10.1007/BF02236529
A whale skeleton was discovered on the flat-topped summit of the Torishima Seamount, 4037 m deep, northwest Pacific Ocean, during a dive by the submersibleShinkai 6500 in 1992. The skeleton was encrusted with mytilid mussels and harbored benthic animals such as galatheid crabs, echinoderms, sea anemones, and unidentifiable tube worms. The whale skeleton was revisited in 1993. Sediment samples were collected to outline the chemical-microbial distribution in the sediment associated with the skeleton. In the sediment, there was a gradient of sulfide concentration with the peak of 20 n moles per gram sediment just beneath a bone. Corresponding gradients were observed in thiosulfate-oxidizing enzyme activity, bacterial colony counts and fatty acid amounts. Direct analysis of the sediment fatty acid composition suggested the occurrence of methane-oxidizing bacteria and sulfur-reducing bacteria in close association with the whale skeleton. These observations imply that the methane and sulfides were formed during the saprogenic process and utilized for the chemosynthetic bacterial production to feed the whale skeleton-animal community.