A simple model depicting how the interaction between larval biology and currents may affect dispersal among hydrothermal vent communities. Larval physiology, development, and behavior influence the vertical distance above the vent that a larva may travel, as well as the amount of time it spends in the water column. Planktonic larval duration (PLD) and position interact with currents to alter transport distance. Then, larval behavior in response to an intrinsic or extrinsic cue triggers the transport of larvae back to the seafloor where they settle and recruit into a hydrothermal vent community. In this example, three larval types are shown. The veliger larvae of many gastropods such as limpets (e.g., Lepetodrilus spp.) tend to remain near the bottom where they are more likely to be retained in slower currents close to home. The embryos of the tubeworm Riftia pachyptila are buoyant and cannot tolerate the high temperatures among the adults; thus, they are likely to be transported above the bottom. Strong-swimming larvae, such as shrimp or crab zoea, migrate up into the oceanic currents far out of the influence of the hydrothermal vent plume or ridge-controlled currents. Illustration by Jack Cook, copyright Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
Media Type: Illustration
Investigator: Diane Adams