Copepoda from deep-sea hydrothermal vents and cold seeps

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Abstract

Recent explorations of hydrothermal vents in the eastern Pacific (Juan de Fuca spreading zone. Guaymas Basin in the Gulf of California. East Pacific Rise at 21° N and 13° N. and Galapagos Rift) and on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge have revealed many copepods, mostly siphonostomatoids with few poecilostomatoids. In these habitats in depths from 1808 to 3650 m water temperatures may reach nearly 15 °C. Among more than 22000 copepods from vents examined two new families, 11 new genera, and 32 new species were represented.

In addition, two new copepods were found in 3260 m at cold seeps at the base of the West Florida Escarpment in the Gulf of Mexico, an environment not thermally active, with water temperatures about 4.39 °C.

Some of these copepods were associated with host invertebrates such as a Nuculana-like protobranch bivalve, a polychaete, and two species of shrimps. Others were obtained from washings of bivalves or vestimentiferans or by means of corers or slurp guns.