Fluid chemistry alters faunal trophodynamics but not composition on the deep-sea Capelinhos hydrothermal edifice

Paru dans Scientific Reports

Alfaro-Lucas J. M., Martin, D., Michel, L., Laes, A., Cathalot, C., Fuchs, S., Sarrazin, J. (2024).

The recently discovered deep-sea Capelinhos hydrothermal edifice, ~ 1.5 km of the main Lucky Strike (LS) vent field (northern Mid-Atlantic Ridge), contrasts with the other LS edifices in having poorly-altered end-member hydrothermal fluids with low pH and chlorine, and high metal concentrations. Capelinhos unique chemistry and location offer the opportunity to test the effects of local abiotic filters on faunal community structure while avoiding the often-correlated influence of dispersal limitation and depth. In this paper, we characterize for the first time the distribution patterns of the Capelinhos faunal communities, and analyze the benthic invertebrates (> 250 µm) inhabiting diffusive-flow areas and their trophic structures (δ13C, δ15N and δ34S). We hypothesized that faunal communities would differ from those of the nearest LS vent edifices, showing an impoverished species subset due to the potential toxicity of the chemical environment. Conversely, our results show that: (1) community distribution resembles that of other LS edifices, with assemblages visually dominated by shrimps (close to high-temperature focused-fluid areas) and mussels (at low-temperature diffuse flow areas); (2) most species from diffuse flow areas are well-known LS inhabitants, including the bed-forming and chemosymbiotic mussel Bathymodiolus azoricus and (3) communities are as diverse as those of the most diverse LS edifices. On the contrary, stable isotopes suggest different trophodynamics at Capelinhos. The high δ15N and, especially, δ13C and δ34S values suggest an important role of methane oxidation (i.e., methanotrophy), rather than the sulfide oxidation (i.e., thiotrophy) that predominates at most LS edifices. Our results indicate that Capelinhos shows unique environmental conditions, trophic structure and trophodynamics, yet similar fauna, compared to other LS edifices, which suggest a great environmental and trophic plasticity of the vent faunal communities at the LS.