The Vent and Seep Biota

Volume 33 of the series Topics in Geobiology pp 169-254


Gastropods from Recent Hot Vents and Cold Seeps: Systematics, Diversity and Life Strategies

  • Takenori SasakiAffiliated withThe University Museum, The University of Tokyo Email author 
  • , Anders WarénAffiliated withSwedish Museum of Natural History
  • , Yasunori KanoAffiliated withAtmosphere and Ocean Research Institute, The University of Tokyo
  • , Takashi OkutaniAffiliated withJapan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology
  • , Katsunori FujikuraAffiliated withJapan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology

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Since the first discovery of hydrothermal vents at the Galapagos Spreading Center in 1977, gastropods have gained considerable attention as a major constituent of the chemosynthesis-based biological communities, especially the colonies of large species like Alviniconcha, Ifremeria and Lepetodrilus, or morphologically strange ones like the scaly-foot snail. Various types of symbiotic relations to bacteria have broadened the interest in them. During more than 30 years numerous vent and seep biotopes have been found mainly in temperate seas, but recently hydrothermal vents off Jan Mayen in the North Atlantic at 80°N and cold seeps off Norway between 67°N and 70°N (Haakon Mosby Mud Volcano) with chemosynthesis-based fauna (see Warén and Bouchet 2001; Desbruyères et al. 2006: 516–517 for map). Biology of these vent/seep organisms is still in an early state of exploration; much of what is known is summarized in the monographs by Van Dover (2000) and Desbruyères et al. (2006). Vent/seep taxa have also been a major target in research on higher phylogeny and systematics of gastropods. Several new families were established in the 1980s, based on seemingly “great differences” in morphology.