Comparative branchial plume biometry between two extreme ecotypes of the hydrothermal vent tubeworm Ridgeia piscesae

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Abstract:

The vestimentiferan tubeworm Ridgeia piscesae Jones, 1985 from the Juan de Fuca Ridge is a morphologically plastic species with two contrasted ecotypes. The “chimney-dwelling” ecotype lives along the sides of active hydrothermal chimneys, where temperature and sulfide concentrations are high, but oxygen concentrations are low. Its morphology corresponds to the “short-fat” morphotype. The “basalt-dwelling” ecotype lives on rock outcrops in surrounding basaltic fields, where temperature and sulfide concentrations are low, but oxygen is readily available. Its morphology corresponds to the “long-skinny” morphotype. We compared the ultrastructure and biometry of their branchial plumes, the essential organ for respiration and nutrition in this symbiotic tubeworm. The branchial epidermis of both ecotypes contains electron-dense organelles, which may be related to the presence of sulfides in their environment. The diffusion distance across the gill epidermis is about 20% shorter in the short-fat R. piscesae. For tubeworms of the same mass, specific branchial surface areas (SBSA) are similar in both ecotypes (mean 24cm2/g for worms of 1–2g body mass), which is comparable with the SBSA in the vestimentiferan vent tubeworm Riftia pachyptila Jones, 1981. The SBSA of R. piscesae follows a power curve that is negatively correlated with total body mass. The implications for gas uptake efficiency between these two ecotypes are discussed.

Le ver vestimentifère tubicole Ridgeia piscesae Jones, 1985 de la dorsale de Juan de Fuca est une espèce morphologiquement plastique avec deux écotypes contrastés. L’écotype de «cheminée» vit sur les flancs des cheminées hydrothermales actives, où température et concentrations en sulfures sont élevées, mais la concentration en oxygène faible. Sa morphologie correspond au morphotype «court-trapu». L’écotype de «basalte» vit sur les affleurements rocheux dans des champs basaltiques environnants, où la température et les concentrations de sulfure sont faibles, mais l’oxygène facilement disponible. Sa morphologie correspond au morphotype «long-fin». Nous avons comparé l’ultrastructure et la biométrie de leurs panaches branchiaux, organe essentiel pour la respiration et la nutrition de ce ver tubicole symbiote. L’épiderme branchial des deux écotypes contient des organites denses aux électrons, qui pourraient être dus à la présence de sulfures dans leur milieu. La distance de diffusion à travers l’épiderme branchial est environ 20 % plus courte dans l’écotype «court-trapu» de R. piscesae. Pour des vers tubicoles de même masse, les surfaces branchiales spécifiques (SBSA) sont similaires dans les deux écotypes (moyenne 24 cm2/g pour des vers de masse de 1–2g) ce qui est semblable à la SBSA du vestimentifère hydrothermal Riftia pachyptila Jones, 1981. La SBSA de R. piscesae suit une courbe de puissance négativement corrélée à la masse totale du corps. Les implications pour l’efficacité de la diffusion des gaz sont discutées.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2006

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