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PLoS One. 2012;7(3):e32965. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0032965. Epub 2012 Mar 14.

Discovery of new hydrothermal activity and chemosynthetic fauna on the Central Indian Ridge at 18°-20° S.

Author information

1
Precambrian Ecosystem Laboratory (PEL), Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC), Yokosuka, Kanagawa, Japan. kentaron@jamstec.go.jp

Abstract

Indian Ocean hydrothermal vents are believed to represent a novel biogeographic province, and are host to many novel genera and families of animals, potentially indigenous to Indian Ocean hydrothermal systems. In particular, since its discovery in 2001, much attention has been paid to a so-called 'scaly-foot' gastropod because of its unique iron-sulfide-coated dermal sclerites and the chemosynthetic symbioses in its various tissues. Despite increasing interest in the faunal assemblages at Indian Ocean hydrothermal vents, only two hydrothermal vent fields have been investigated in the Indian Ocean. Here we report two newly discovered hydrothermal vent fields, the Dodo and Solitaire fields, which are located in the Central Indian Ridge (CIR) segments 16 and 15, respectively. Chemosynthetic faunal communities at the Dodo field are emaciated in size and composition. In contrast, at the Solitaire field, we observed faunal communities that potentially contained almost all genera found at CIR hydrothermal environments to date, and even identified previously unreported taxa. Moreover, a new morphotype of 'scaly-foot' gastropod has been found at the Solitaire field. The newly discovered 'scaly-foot' gastropod has similar morphological and anatomical features to the previously reported type that inhabits the Kairei field, and both types of 'scaly-foot' gastropods genetically belong to the same species according to analyses of their COI gene and nuclear SSU rRNA gene sequences. However, the new morphotype completely lacks an iron-sulfide coating on the sclerites, which had been believed to be a novel feature restricted to 'scaly-foot' gastropods. Our new findings at the two newly discovered hydrothermal vent sites provide important insights into the biodiversity and biogeography of vent-endemic ecosystems in the Indian Ocean.

PMID:
22431990
PMCID:
PMC3303786
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0032965
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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