Biological Communities at Marine Shallow-Water Vent and Seep Sites

  • Paul R. Dando
Part of the Topics in Geobiology book series (TGBI, volume 33)


The review compiles, for the first time, data on the communities at 62 shallow-water hydrothermal vent and cold seep sites. ‘Shallow sites’ are defined as sites no deeper than 200 m. The communities at these sites are also compared with communities in reducing sediments at similar depths. Below 200 m, vent and seep obligate species tend to dominate the fauna living in areas where reducing fluids are released from the seabed. At the shallow sites, vent and seep obligate species of fauna are rare, only eight having being reported from shallow vents. No definite seep obligates have been found. Shallow vents and seeps are colonized by communities that consist of a subset of the background fauna, especially those species that are less sensitive to hydrogen sulphide toxicity. Conversely the zones directly surrounding shallow vent and seeps sites with varied topography, substrate type and food supply, often have a higher species diversity than the background area. The reasons for these differences are discussed.


Particulate Organic Carbon Cold Seep Shallow Site Methane Seep Seep Site 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



I thank Steffen Kiel for the invitation to write this review, Nike Bianchi, Carla Morri, Alan Southward and Eve Southward for discussions on vent and seep ecosystems over the years and Andrey Gebruk and Lisa Levin for reviews of the manuscript and helpful comments. The studies at Milos and in Denmark were funded by EC MAST Programme projects and I thank my numerous collaborators for their efforts in unraveling the complex ecosytems there. The acquisition of the airborne data by the NERC Airborne Remote Sensing Facility under Project MC04/10 is gratefully acknowledged.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Marine Biological Association of the United KingdomPlymouthUK

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