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Physiological Ecology of Sulfide Metabolism in Hydrothermal Vent and Cold Seep Vesicomyid Clams and Vestimentiferan Tube Worms

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/icb/35.2.102 102-111 First published online: 1 April 1995


SYNOPSIS. The primary ecosystem-structuring organisms at many hydrothermal vents and cold seeps are phylogenetically related and quite similar physiologically and anatomically. Vestimentiferan tube worms and Vesicomyid clams in particular all rely on chemoautotrophic sulfur-oxidizing symbionts and have blood which binds sulfide with high affinity and capacity. However, there are significant differences between cold seep and hydrothermal vent environments, including large differences in flow rate of the emitted fluid and the chemistry of that fluid. Here we review extant data on the hydrothermal vent species, present new data on the physiologically relevant chemical microhabitat of cold seep vestimentiferans and vesicomyids, and compare the physiological ecology of the seep species to their hydrothermal vent relatives

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