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      Unexpected discovery of a serpentinite‐hosted chemosynthetic ecosystem on Asùt Tesoru Seamount, Mariana Forearc

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          Abstract

          Chemosynthetic ecosystems powered by microbial primary production are rare ‘hot spots’ of biological activity in the deep‐sea characterized by dense aggregations of specially adapted animal species. Among settings where such systems have been found, serpentinite‐hosted seep systems supported by alkaline geofluid are particularly understudied with just a few known sites worldwide. Mariana Forearc hosts the world's only series of active serpentinite mud volcanoes, but seep communities have only been reported from South Chamorro Seamount where large bathymodioline mussels dominate. Here, we report the discovery of a serpentinite‐hosted seep on the conical summit of Asùt Tesoru Seamount, Mariana Forearc. Named the ‘Big Blue Seep’, this field features white, likely carbonate crusts inhabited by animals, under which fluid seepage could be seen. We confirm 16 animal species, including typical seep‐associated fauna such as Desbruyeresia gastropods and Acharax awning‐clams. This is surprising as previous research expeditions did not notice any sign of chemosynthesis‐based ecosystems on this seamount, although the community is indeed difficult to spot due to the lack of large‐bodied epifauna such as mussels. The Big Blue Seep is adjacent to three drill holes made by the International Ocean Discovery Program expedition 366 (Holes U1496A‐C), which may have impact on seepage. Our findings represent the second chemosynthesis‐based ecosystem associated with serpentinite mud volcanism, suggestive of further such communities on other Mariana Forearc mud volcanoes.

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          Submarine thermal sprirngs on the galapagos rift.

          The submarine hydrothermal activity on and near the Galápagos Rift has been explored with the aid of the deep submersible Alvin. Analyses of water samples from hydrothermal vents reveal that hydrothermal activity provides significant or dominant sources and sinks for several components of seawater; studies of conductive and convective heat transfer suggest that two-thirds of the heat lost from new oceanic lithosphere at the Galápagos Rift in the first million years may be vented from thermal springs, predominantly along the axial ridge within the rift valley. The vent areas are populated by animal communities. They appear to utilize chemosynthesis by sulfur-oxidizing bacteria to derive their entire energy supply from reactions between the seawater and the rocks at high temperatures, rather than photosynthesis.
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            The Generic Mapping Tools Version 6

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              Ecology of Cold Seep Sediments

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                Author and article information

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                Journal
                Marine Ecology
                Marine Ecology
                Wiley
                0173-9565
                1439-0485
                October 2023
                June 16 2023
                October 2023
                : 44
                : 5
                Affiliations
                [1 ] X‐STAR Japan Agency for Marine‐Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) Yokosuka Kanagawa Japan
                [2 ] Marine Survey Department Nippon Marine Enterprises, Ltd. Yokosuka Kanagawa Japan
                Article
                10.1111/maec.12759
                72baa202-8fbe-4bbd-82e9-7048619e6de5
                © 2023

                http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

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