Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the UK

Research Article

First direct evidence of methane seepage and associated chemosynthetic communities in the bathyal zone off Chile

Javier  Sellanes a1c1, Eduardo  Quiroga a2 and Víctor A.  Gallardo a1
a1 Center for Oceanographic Research in the Eastern-South Pacific (COPAS), University of Concepción, Casilla 160-C, Concepción, Chile
a2 Doctorate Program in Oceanography, University of Concepción, Casilla 160-C, Concepción, Chile

Article author query
sellanes j   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
quiroga e   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
gallardo v   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 


The occurrence of an area of methane seepage off Chile is reported for the first time. Shell fragments of two species of bivalves of the genus Calyptogena and one species of Acharax were retrieved in dredge hauls from 651 to 934 m depth off Concepción ([approximate]36°S). A large quantity of carbonate blocks was also collected, indicating anaerobic oxidation of methane in the sediment. The accompanying, non-chemosynthetic fauna from one of the hauls was diverse, containing some species new to science. Our preliminary data suggests an assemblage similar in structure to those reported elsewhere, albeit with an important endemic component.

(Received March 29 2004)
(Accepted June 18 2004)

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