Marine Biology

, Volume 153, Issue 2, pp 129–139

POM in macro-/meiofaunal food webs associated with three flow regimes at deep-sea hydrothermal vents on Axial Volcano, Juan de Fuca Ridge

  • Helene Limén
  • Christian Levesque
  • S. Kim Juniper
Research Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00227-007-0790-1

Cite this article as:
Limén, H., Levesque, C. & Kim Juniper, S. Mar Biol (2007) 153: 129. doi:10.1007/s00227-007-0790-1


Deep-sea hydrothermal vent ecosystems host both symbiotic and non-symbiotic invertebrates. The non-symbiotic vent fauna is generally assumed to rely on free-living chemoautotrophic bacteria as their main food source but other sources such as detritus have recently been suggested to be a part of the invertebrate diets. Little is known about how food availability influences the distribution of vent organisms on a small scale. In addition, the feeding ecology and role of small, often numerically dominant invertebrates, the meiofauna is poorly understood at vents. In this study, we used stable carbon and nitrogen isotopic analysis to investigate the role of particulate detritus in the diets of macro- and meiobenthic invertebrates within three vent assemblages at Axial Volcano, Juan de Fuca Ridge, and Northeast Pacific. Particulate organic matter of a detrital origin became more important in the diet of invertebrates in assemblages typically associated with low-hydrothermal flow intensities. Meiobenthic species occupied several different feeding guilds and trophic levels in the assemblages investigated. We conclude that small-scale spatial variability in food sources is an important feature of vent food webs and that spatial patterns observed here and elsewhere are shaped by variations in hydrothermal discharge.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Helene Limén
    • 1
    • 2
  • Christian Levesque
    • 3
  • S. Kim Juniper
    • 1
    • 4
  1. 1.Centre GEOTOP-UQAM-McGillUniversité du Québec à MontréalMontréalCanada
  2. 2.The Swedish Parliament, Research ServiceStockholmSweden
  3. 3.John Abbott CollegeQuébecCanada
  4. 4.School of Earth and Ocean Sciences and Department of BiologyUniversity of VictoriaVictoriaCanada