Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

Dijanna Figueroa, Ph.D.

University of California Santa Barbara

Physiological Tolerances and The Heat Shock Response in Hydrothermal Vent Animals


Wednesday — July 28, 2010
Pacific Forum — 3:00 p.m.

Hydrothermal vent environments are extreme and unstable habitats where specialized organisms thrive. Hydrothermal fluid seeps from cracks in the seafloor and is enriched in inorganic carbon and hydrogen sulfide, depleted in oxygen, and elevated in temperature.  The venting fluid mixes with ambient deep-sea water to create a range of physical and chemical conditions within a vent field. Proximity and rate of vent flow, as well as site-specific chemical and physical properties of the hydrothermal fluid, are the major determinants of conditions affecting organisms at any particular location. Species distributions among vent sites and spatial patterns within vent sites are believed to be the result of both ecological and physiological factors.  I will discuss my work investigating the physiological tolerances of vent animals from the Lau Back Arc Basin as it relates to species distribution and observed zonation patterns.

Next: Aug. 4 - Amber Mace