Today's Nature - Riftia dispersal

Geoff Read g.read at niwa.cri.nz
Wed May 2 20:56:16 EST 2001


A nicely integrated piece on physics & biology. I was going to say they 
don't mention the words pogonophora or vestimentifera - but I see there's a 
vestimentiferan slipped in. 

Marsh, A. G., L. S. Mullineaux, C. M. Young, & D. T. Manahan. 2001. Larval 
dispersal potential of the tubeworm Riftia pachyptila at  deep-sea hydrothermal 
vents. -  Nature 411(6833):77-80.

First paragraph. "Hydrothermal vents are ephemeral because of frequent 
volcanic and tectonic activities associated with crust formation. Although 
the larvae of hydrothermal vent fauna can rapidly colonize new vent sites 
separated by tens to hundreds of kilometres, the mechanisms by which 
these larvae disperse and recruit are not understood. Here we integrate 
physiological, developmental and hydrodynamic data to estimate the 
dispersal potential of larvae of the giant tubeworm Riftia pachyptila. At in 
situ temperatures and pressures (2 °C and 250 atm), we estimate that the 
metabolic lifespan for a larva of R. pachyptila averages 38 days. In the 
measured flow regime at a fast-spreading ridge axis (9° 50' N; East Pacific 
Rise), this lifespan results in potential along-ridge dispersal distances that 
rarely exceed 100 km. This limited dispersal results not from the 
physiological performance of the embryos and larvae, but instead from 
transport limitations imposed by periodic reversals in along-ridge flows and 
sustained episodes of across-ridge flow. The lifespan presented for these 
larvae can now be used to predict dispersal under current regimes at other 
hydrothermal vent sites."  

--
  Geoff Read <g.read at niwa.cri.nz>


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