National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce


FY 2005

A serpentinite-hosted ecosystem: The Lost City hydrothermal field

Kelley, D.S., J.A. Karson, G.L. Früh-Green, D. Yoerger, T.M. Shank, D.A. Butterfield, J.M. Hayes, M.O. Schrenk, E. Olson, G. Proskurowski, M. Jakuba, A. Bradley, B. Larson, K. Ludwig, D. Glickson, K. Buckman, A.S. Bradley, B. Brazelton, K. Roe, M.J. Elend, A. Delacour, S.M. Bernasconi, M.D. Lilley, J.A. Baross, R.E. Summons, and S.P. Sylva

Science, 307(5714), 1434–1440, doi: 10.1126/science.1102556 (2005)

The serpentinite-hosted Lost City hydrothermal field is a remarkable submarine ecosystemin which geological, chemical, and biological processes are intimately interlinked. Reactions between seawater and upper mantle peridotite produce methane- and hydrogen-rich fluids, with temperatures ranging from <40° to 90°C at pH 9 to 11, and carbonate chimneys 30 to 60 meters tall. A low diversity of microorganisms related to methane-cycling Archaea thrive in the warm porous interiors of the edifices. Macrofaunal communities show a degree of species diversity at least as high as that of black smoker vent sites along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, but they lack the high biomasses of chemosynthetic organisms that are typical of volcanically driven systems.

Feature Publications | Outstanding Scientific Publications

Contact Sandra Bigley |