Gulf of Mexico hydrocarbon seep communities: VI. Patterns in community structure and habitat
- Cite this article as:
- MacDonald, I.R., Guinasso, N.L., Reilly, J.F. et al. Geo-Marine Letters (1990) 10: 244. doi:10.1007/BF02431071
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Communities of chemosynthetic fauna that depend on seeping oil and gas have been found in the Gulf of Mexico at approximately 45 sites between 88°W and 95°W and between the 350 and 2,200 m isobaths. Investigations suggest that the number of sites and the range of occurrence will increase with additional exploration. The dominant fauna consist of species within four groups: tube worms, seep mussels, epibenthic clams, and infaunal clams. These species co-occur to some degree, but tend to form assemblages dominated by a single group. Community development is closely coupled to the geological and geochemical processes of seepage.