Influence of environmental conditions on early development of the hydrothermal vent polychaete Alvinella pompejana

Type Article
Date 2005-04
Language English
Author(s) Pradillon F1, Le Bris Nadine2, Shillito B1, Young C3, Gaill F1
Affiliation(s) 1 : Univ Paris 06, CNRS, UMR 7138, F-75252 Paris, France.
2 : IFREMER, Direct Rech Ocean, Dept Environm Profond, F-29280 Plouzane, France.
3 : Univ Oregon, Oregon Inst Marine Biol, Charleston, OR 97420 USA.
Source Journal of Experimental Biology (0022-0949) (The Company of Biologists), 2005-04 , Vol. 208 , N. 8 , P. 1551-1561
DOI 10.1242/jeb.01567
WOS© Times Cited 23
Keyword(s) Environmental condition, H2S, Temperature tolerance, Polychaete, Pressure vessel, Embryo, Development, Hydrothermal vent
Abstract Dispersal and colonisation processes at deep-sea vents are still not fully understood, essentially because early life stages of vent species remain unknown. The polychaete worm Alvinella pompejana forms colonies on chimney walls at East Pacific Rise vent sites where the temperature can frequently exceed 20 degrees C. In vitro studies in pressure vessels showed that the early embryos tolerate temperatures in a lower range (10-14 degrees C), suggesting that they would have to escape the colony to develop. Pressure vessels offer the advantage that each parameter can be independently controlled, but they do not simulate the more complex and dynamic conditions naturally encountered at vent sites. Accordingly, in addition to incubations in pressure vessels, we incubated embryos directly at a vent site, in different habitats along a gradient of hydrothermal influence. Embryos incubated on an adult A. pompejana colony where temperature and H,S concentrations were relatively high showed a very low survival rate and did not develop, whereas embryos incubated in a Riftia pachyptila clump environment with a lower hydrothermal signature, or at the base of the chimney where the influence of the hydrothermal activity was very weak, survived well and developed. Although the average temperature recorded in the A. pompejana colony was within the range tolerated by embryos (13 degrees C), frequent peaks above 20 degrees C were recorded. Estimated sulphide concentration at this site reached 200 mu mol l(-1). Punctuated exposure to both high temperature and elevated sulphide levels probably explain the low survival of embryos within the A. pompejana colony. The in situ experiments further support the idea that embryos require conditions with moderate hydrothermal influence not generally found within an adult colony. However, as much more benign physicochemical conditions can be found within a few tens of cm of adult colonies, embryos do not necessarily have to leave their vent of origin to develop. Further analyses are needed to pinpoint the specific factors that affect the survival and development of embryos at vents.
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Pradillon F, Le Bris Nadine, Shillito B, Young C, Gaill F (2005). Influence of environmental conditions on early development of the hydrothermal vent polychaete Alvinella pompejana. Journal of Experimental Biology, 208(8), 1551-1561. Publisher's official version : , Open Access version :