Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Visual evidence of reduced seafloor conditions and indications of a cold-seep ecosystem from the Hatton–Rockall basin (NE Atlantic)

  • Francis C. Neat (a1), Alan J. Jamieson (a2), Heather A. Stewart (a3), Bhavani E. Narayanaswamy (a4), Neil Collie (a1), Michael Stewart (a1) and Thomas D. Linley (a2)...

Abstract

High definition video from a towed camera system was used to describe the deep-sea benthic habitats within an elongate depression located at the western margin of Rockall Bank in the Hatton–Rockall Basin. At depths greater than 1190 m, an extensive area (10 km long by 1.5 km wide) of what appeared to be reduced sediments, bacterial mats and flocculent matter indicated possible cold-seep habitat. Plumes of sediment-rich fluid were observed alongside raised elongate features that gave topographic relief to the otherwise flat seafloor. In the deepest section of the depression (1215 m) dense flocculent matter was observed suspended in the water column, in places obscuring the seabed. Away from the bacterial mats, the habitat changed rapidly to sediments dominated by tube-dwelling polychaete worms and then to deep-sea sedimentary habitats more typical for the water depth (sponges and burrowing megafauna in areas of gentle slopes, and coral gardens on steeper slopes).

Copyright

Corresponding author

Correspondence should be addressed to: Francis C. Neat, Marine Stewardship Council, 1 Snow Hill, London EC1A 2EJ, UK email: francis.neat@msc.org

References

Hide All
Baco, A., Rowden, A., Levin, L.A., Smith, C.R. and Bowden, D.A. (2009) Initial characterization of cold seep faunal communities on the New Zealand Hikurangi margin. Marine Geology 272, 251259.
Barry, J.P., Greene, H.G., Orange, D.L., Baxter, C.H., Robison, B.H., Kochevar, R.E., Nybakken, J.W. and McHugh, C.M. (1996) Biologic and geologic characteristics of cold seeps in Monterey Bay, California. Deep Sea Research Part I 43, 17391762.
Bayon, G., Dupre, S., Ponzevera, E., Etoubleau, J., Cheron, S., Mascle, J., Boetius, A. and de Lange, G.T. (2013) Formation of carbonate chimneys in the Mediterranean Sea linked to deep-water oxygen depletion. Nature Geosciences 6, 755760.
Berndt, C., Jacobs, C., Evans, A., Gay, A., Elliott, G., Long, D. and Hitchen, K. (2012) Kilometre-scale polygonal seabed depressions in the Hatton Basin, NE Atlantic Ocean: constraints on the origin of polygonal faulting. Marine Geology 332, 126133.
Boetius, A., Ravenschlag, K., Schubert, C.J., Rickert, D., Widdel, F., Gieseke, A., Amann, R., Barker Jùrgensen, B., Witte, U. and Pfannkuche, O. (2000) A marine microbial consortium apparently mediating anaerobic oxidation of methane. Nature 427, 623626.
Boetius, A. and Wenzhöfer, F. (2013) Seafloor oxygen consumption fuelled by methane from cold seeps. Nature Geosciences 6, 725734.
Bowles, M., Hunter, K.S., Samarkin, V. and Joye, S. (2016) Patterns and variability in geochemical signatures and microbial activity within and between diverse cold seep habitats along the lower continental slope, Northern Gulf of Mexico. Deep Sea Research Part II 129, 3140.
Cordes, E.E., Cunha, M.R., Galeron, J., Mora, C., Olu-Le Roy, K., Sibuet, M., Van Gaever, S., Vanreusal, A. and Levin, L. (2010) The influence of geological, geochemical and biogenic habitat heterogeneity on seep biodiversity. Marine Ecology 31, 5165.
Cunha, M. R., Rodrigues, C. F., Genio, L., Hilario, A., Ravara, A. and Pfannkuche, O. (2013) Macrofaunal assemblages from mud volcanoes in the Gulf of Cadiz: abundance, biodiversity and diversity partitioning across spatial scales. Biogeosciences 10, 25532568.
Davies, J.S., Stewart, H.A., Narayanaswamy, B.E., Jacobs, C., Spicer, J., Golding, N. and Howell, K.L. (2015) Benthic assemblages of the Anton Dohrn Seamount (NE Atlantic): defining deep-sea biotopes to support habitat mapping and management efforts with a focus on vulnerable marine ecosystems. PLoS ONE 10, e0124815.
Dubilier, N., Bergin, C. and Lott, C. (2008) Symbiotic diversity in marine animals: the art of harnessing chemosynthesis. Nature Reviews in Microbiology 6, 725740.
German, C.R., Ramırez-Llodra, E., Baker, M.C. and Tyler, P.A. (2011) Deep-water chemosynthetic ecosystem research during the Census of Marine Life decade and beyond: a proposed deep-ocean road map. PLoS ONE 6, 116.
Gooday, A.J. and Lambshead, P.J.D. (1989) Influence of seasonally deposited phytodetritus on benthic foraminiferal populations in the bathyal northeast Atlantic: the species response. Marine Ecology Progress Series 58, 5367.
Grunke, S., Lichtschlag, A., de Beer, D., Felden, J., Salman, V., Ramette, A., Schulz-Vogt, H.N. and Boetius, A. (2012) Mats of psychrophilic thiotrophic bacteria associated with cold seeps of the Barents Sea. Biogeosciences 9, 29472960.
Hitchen, K. (2004) The geology of the UK Hatton–Rockall margin. Marine Petroleum Geology 21, 9931012.
Hughes, D.J. and Gage, J.D. (2004) Benthic metazoan biomass, community structure and bioturbation at three contrasting deep-water sites on the northwest European continental margin. Progress in Oceanography 63, 2955.
Jerosch, K., Schluter, M., Foucher, J.P., Allais, A.G., Klages, M. and Edy, C. (2007) Spatial distribution of mud flows, chemoautotrophic communities, and biogeochemical habitats at Hakon Mosby Mud Volcano. Marine Geology 243, 117.
Joye, S.B., Boetius, A., Orcutt, B.N., Montoya, J.P., Schulz, H.N., Erickson, M.J. and Lugo, S.K. (2004) The anaerobic oxidation of methane and sulfate reduction in sediments from Gulf of Mexico cold seeps. Chemical Geology 205, 219238.
Krylova, E.M., Gebruk, A.V., Portnova, D.A., Todt, C. and Haflidason, H. (2011) New species of the genus Isorropodon (Bivalvia: Vesicomyidae: Pliocardiinae) from cold methane seeps at Nyegga (Norwegian Sea, Vøring Plateau, Storrega Slide). Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 91, 11351144.
Levin, L.A. (2003) Spatial heterogeneity of macrofauna at northern California methane seeps: influence of sulphide concentration and fluid flow. Marine Ecology Progress Series 265, 123139.
Levin, L.A. (2005) Ecology of cold-seep sediments: interactions of fauna with flow, chemistry and microbes. Oceanography and Marine Biology 43, 146.
Levin, L.A., Baco, A.R., Bowden, D.A., Colaco, A, Cordes, EE, Cunha, M.R., Demopoulos, A.W.J., Gobin, J., Grupe, B.M., Le, J., Metaxas, A., Netburn, A.N., Rouse, G.W., Thurber, A.R., Tunnicliffe, V., Van Dover, C.L., Vanreusel, A. and Watling, L. (2016) Hydrothermal vents and methane seeps: rethinking the sphere of influence. Frontiers in Marine Science 3, 123. doi: 10.3389/fmars.2016.00072.
Linley, T.D. (2016) Fishes of the Pacific abyssal and hadal zones: new technology and advances in geographic and bathymetric resolution. PhD thesis. University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, UK.
McIntyre, F.D., Drewery, J., Eerks-Medrano, D. and Neat, F. (2016) Diversity and distribution of deep-sea sponge grounds on the Rosemary Bank Seamount, NE Atlantic. Marine Biology 163, 143153.
Narayanaswamy, B.E., Hughes, D.J., Howell, K.L., Davies, J. and Jacobs, C. (2013) First observations of megafaunal communities inhabiting George Bligh Bank, northeast Atlantic. Deep Sea Research Part II 92, 7986.
Niemann, H., Lösekann, T., de Beer, D., Elvert, M., Nadalig, T., Knittel, K., Sauter, E.J., Schluter, M., Klages, M., Foucher, J.P. and Boetius, A. (2006) Novel microbial communities of the Haakon Mosby mud volcano and their role as a methane sink. Nature 443, 854858.
Oliver, P.G. and Drewery, J. (2014) New species of chemosymbiotic clams (Bivalvia: Vesicomyidae and Thyasiridae) from a putative ‘seep’ in the Hatton–Rockall Basin, north-east Atlantic. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 94, 389403.
Olu, K., Lance, S., Sibuet, M., Henry, P., Fiala-Médioni, A. and Dinet, A. (1997) Cold seep communities as indicators of fluid expulsion patterns through mud volcanoes seaward of the Barbados accretionary prism. Deep Sea Research Part I 44, 811841.
Orphan, V.J., House, C.H., Hinrichs, K., McKeegan, K.D. and DeLong, E.F. (2002) Multiple archaeal groups mediate methane oxidation in anoxic cold seep sediments. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 99, 76637668.
Rakowski, C., Magen, C., Bosman, S., Gillies, L., Rogers, K. and Chanton, J. (2015) Methane and microbial dynamics in the Gulf of Mexico water column. Frontiers in Marine Science 2, 69. doi: 10.3389/fmars.2015.00069
Rodrigues, C.F., Webster, G., Cunha, M.R., Duperron, S. and Weightman, A.J. (2010) Chemosynthetic bacteria found in bivalve species from mud volcanoes of the Gulf of Cadiz. FEMS Microbiology and Ecology 73, 486499.
Rodríguez, E. and Daly, M. (2010) Phylogenetic relationships among deep-sea and chemosynthetic sea anemones: Actinoscyphiidae and Actinostolidae (Actiniaria: Mesomyaria). PLoS ONE 5, e10958.
Sassen, R., Roberts, H.H., Aharon, P., Larkin, J., Chinn, E. and Carney, R. (1993) Chemosynthetic bacterial mats at cold hydrocarbon seeps, Gulf of Mexico continental slope. Organic Geochemistry 20, 7789.
Sibuet, M. and Olu, K. (1998) Biogeography, biodiversity and fluid dependence of deep-sea cold-seep communities at active and passive margins. Deep Sea Research Part II 45, 517567.
Skarke, A., Ruppel, C., Kodis, M., Brothers, D. and Lobecker, E. (2014) Widespread methane leakage from the sea floor on the northern US Atlantic margin. Nature Geoscience 7, 657661.
Tunnicliffe, V. (1992) Hydrothermal-vent communities of the deep sea. American Scientist 80, 336349.
Tunnicliffe, V., Juniper, S. K. and Sibuet, M. (2003) Reducing environments of the deepsea floor. In Tyler, P. A. (ed.) Ecosystems of the world: the deep sea. London: Elsevier Press, pp. 81110.
Vanreusel, A., Andersen, A.C., Boetius, A., Connelly, D., Cunha, M.R., Decker, C., Hilario, A., Kormas, K.A., Maignien, L., Olu, K. and Pachiadaki, M. (2009) Biodiversity of cold seep ecosystems along the European margins. Oceanography 22, 110127.

Keywords

Type Description Title
VIDEO
Supplementary materials

Neat et al. supplementary material
Neat et al. supplementary material 1

 Video (18.9 MB)
18.9 MB

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed