Structure and drivers of cold seep ecosystems

Foucher, J.-P., Westbrook, G. K., Boetius, A., Ceramicola, S., Dupré, S., Mascle, J., Mienert, J., Pfannkuche, Olaf, Pierre, C. and Praeg, D. (2009) Structure and drivers of cold seep ecosystems Oceanography, 22 . pp. 92-109. DOI 10.5670/oceanog.2009.11.

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Submarine hydrocarbon seeps are geologically driven “hotspots” of increased biological activity on the seabed. As part of the HERMES project, several sites of natural hydrocarbon seepage in the European seas were investigated in detail, including mud volcanoes and pockmarks, in study areas extending from the Nordic margin, to the Gulf of Cádiz, to the Mediterranean and Black seas. High-resolution seabed maps and the main properties of key seep sites are presented here. Individual seeps show ecosystem zonation related to the strength of the methane flux and distinct biogeochemical processes in surface sediments. A feature common to many seeps is the formation of authigenic carbonate constructions. These constructions exhibit various morphologies ranging from large pavements and fragmented slabs to chimneys and mushroom-shaped mounds, and they form hard substrates colonized by fixed fauna. Gas hydrate dissociation could contribute to sustain seep chemosynthetic communities over several thousand years following large gas-release events.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: natural hydrocarbon seeps, European seas, Nordic margin, Gulf of Cádiz, Mediterranean Sea, Black Sea
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB2 Marine Biogeochemistry > FB2-MG Marine Geosystems
OceanRep > The Future Ocean - Cluster of Excellence
Refereed: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.5670/oceanog.2009.11
ISSN: 1042-8275
Projects: Future Ocean, HERMES
Date Deposited: 11 Nov 2009 10:26
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2017 10:45

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