Lamellibrachia luymesi van der Land and Nørrevang, 1975 — Details

Vestimentiferan Tubeworms learn more about names for this taxon

Overview

Comprehensive Description

Lamellibrachia luymesi are vestimentiferan tubeworms (family Siboglinidae). The vestimentiferans include several species of large, sessile (i.e., fixed in one place as adults) marine polychaete annelids found around hydrogen sulfide hydrothermal vents and seeps. The vestimentiferans around hydrocarbon seeps, such as L. luymesi, can exceed 2 meters in length and are related to the giant Riftia pachyptila tubeworms found around hydrothermal vents. All these worms lack a digestive tract and rely on internal sulfide-oxidizing symbionts as a source of fixed carbon. Because these large worms are sessile, any dispersal among their very patchily distributed habitats must occur during the planktonic larval stage. The cold seep vestimentiferans Lamellibrachia luymesi and Seepiophila jonesi are apparently found only around hydrocarbon seep sites on the upper Louisiana Slope (<1000 m) in the northern Gulf of Mexico. (McMullin et al. 2010 and references therein)

Lamellibrachia luymesi individuals can live for over 250 years and form aggregations of hundreds to thousands of individuals at hydrocarbon seep sites in the Gulf of Mexico. These worms harbor internal chemoautotrophic sulfide-oxidizing (thiotrophic) symbionts. Like bathymodiolin mussels with internal methanotrophic symbionts, which are also often dominant species (by biomass) at these sites, these worms function as foundation species, supporting a high-biomass of endemic species along with numerous non-endemic species at an abundance that is significantly elevated relative to the surrounding seafloor. Cordes et al. (2005) found that tubeworm-associated communities sampled at seep sites on the upper Louisiana slope undergo predictable community succession and that these changes are due at least in part to reductions in hydrogen sulfide concentration caused by L. luymesi. (Cordes et al. 2005 and references therein)

One interesting non-chemoautotrophic seep species, the bivalve mollusk Acesta bullisi, has evolved specialized mechanisms to exploit a unique source of nutrition derived ultimately from chemosynthesis: the energy-rich eggs of giant tubeworms. This appears to be the only marine animal known to exhibit extreme morphological modifications to utilize egg predation as the major mode of nutrition. Virtually all mature individuals are found on female tubeworms rather than on males. (Järnegren et al. 2005 and references therein)

Cordes et al. (2009) provide a broad review of the Gulf of Mexico cold seeps, including the biology and ecology of L. luymesi.

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General Description

The vestimental region is relatively long, representing about 11% of the total body length. There are six pairs of tentacular lamellae which are not fringed with free tips. The ventral sides of the margins of the vestimental wings do not show any ornamentation. The dorsal side of the trunk is provided with a series of transverse grooves, just behind the vestimental region. The neurular tube of the trunk is only present in its anterior part. There is a real common excretory duct, its epithelium is not provided with a cuticular lining. The two sperm ducts join to form a common sperm duct in the vestimental region. The two male gonopores as well as the posterior parts of the vestimental ridges lie close together. The tube is rather smooth along its whole length and has no conspicuous collars.

(van der Land & Norrevang, 1977)

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Distribution

Geographic Range

Lamellibrachia luymesi is a large sedentary worm that lives in the Atlantic Ocean, particularly in the northern portions of the Gulf of Mexico. This portion of the Gulf of Mexico basin contains several hydrocarbon cold seep vents (not to be confused with super-heated hydrothermal vents). These particular cold seep vents are driven by tectonics of a compact salt and sediment layer beneath the Gulf of Mexico basin. Lamellibrachia luymesi is most abundant along the Louisiana slope of the Gulf of Mexico basin. However, it was first discovered along the Guyana Shelf in the mid 1970s.

Biogeographic Regions: atlantic ocean (Native )

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Forms large bush-like aggregations at hydrocarbon seeps in the Gulf of Mexico (Gardiner & Hourdez, 2003).

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Physical Description

Morphology

Physical Description

Lamellibranchia luymesi are large, sedentary worms of the phylum Annelida that live within a secreted tube. Their plumes are deep red and their wavy or curling tubes are off-white in color. Mature seep worms have a thin, tapered body plan. They have no mouth or gut because they rely on chemosynthetic bacterial endosymbionts for nutrition. The plume of L. luymesi can reach as high as 1.5 m above the seafloor and it has a growth rate of 1 cm per year. Lamellibranchia luymesi is the more abundant species of Gulf of Mexico cold seep tubeworm communities.

Range length: 2.0 (high) m.

Other Physical Features: ectothermic ; heterothermic ; bilateral symmetry

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Ecology

Habitat

slope
  • UNESCO-IOC Register of Marine Organisms
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Lamellibrachia luymesi lives only at shallow-water hydrocarbon seep vents at depths of less than 1000 m. Water temperatures at this location are approximately 5 to 7 °C. Water samples from the sediments around the posterior “root” end of L. luymesi have contained hydrogen sulfide concentrations as high as 2.7 mM, while hydrogen sulfide concentrations around its plume end are barely detectable (less than 1.0 μM).

Range depth: 1000 (high) m.

Habitat Regions: saltwater or marine

Aquatic Biomes: benthic ; oceanic vent

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Depth range based on 12 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 10 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 540 - 587.5
  Temperature range (°C): 7.150 - 8.336
  Nitrate (umol/L): 29.021 - 30.171
  Salinity (PPS): 34.899 - 34.984
  Oxygen (ml/l): 2.846 - 3.108
  Phosphate (umol/l): 1.891 - 2.041
  Silicate (umol/l): 16.797 - 18.986

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 540 - 587.5

Temperature range (°C): 7.150 - 8.336

Nitrate (umol/L): 29.021 - 30.171

Salinity (PPS): 34.899 - 34.984

Oxygen (ml/l): 2.846 - 3.108

Phosphate (umol/l): 1.891 - 2.041

Silicate (umol/l): 16.797 - 18.986
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

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Trophic Strategy

Food Habits

Studies have shown that L. luymesi take up sulfide from the environment by using extensions of their tubes which penetrate the sea floor sediment. They provide this sulfide to the chemoautotrophic bacterial endosymbionts belonging to the Gammaproteobacteria, which live inside the bacteriocytes (specialized cells) of the trophosome (a new organ produced by the host to house and protect its microbial partner) in L. luymesi. In return, these endosymbionts provide nutrition to L. luymesi through the products of their respiratory processes.

  • Freytag, J. 2001. A paradox resolved: Sulfide acquisition by roots of seep tubeworms sustains net chemoautotrophy. PNAS, 98: 13408-13413.
  • Pflugfelder, B. 2006. "Balance between proliferation and death - studies on the kinetics of bacteriocyte cell cycle in thiotrophic Siboglinidae symbioses" (On-line). Accessed December 11, 2006 at http://www.hydrothermalvent.com/php/content/view/48/41/.
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Associations

Ecosystem Roles

Oxygen transport proteins of deep-sea animals are sensitive to pH changes, so L. luymesi and its endosymbionts have an impact on these organisms and their ecosystem. Through their feeding and respiration processes, they stabilize carbon dioxide levels, in turn keeping pH levels stable. Hydrogen sulfide levels are also kept at a minimum by L. luymesi, which even in small amounts can be deadly to living organisms. This allows for a larger community of organisms to live in an otherwise barren habitat. This includes a variety of organisms from the phylums Brachiopoda, Mollusca, Porifera, Arthropoda, and Chordata.

Ecosystem Impact: creates habitat

Mutualist Species:

  • Horstman, M. 2003. "Ancient tubeworms engineer the deep sea" (On-line). Accessed December 02, 2010 at http://www.abc.net.au/science/news/stories/s812802.htm.
  • Seibel, B., P. Walsh. 2003. Biological impacts of deep-sea carbondioxide injection inferred from indices of physiological performance. The Journal of Experimental Biology, 206: 641-650.
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Predation

The file clam, Acesta bullisi, preys on the eggs of L. luymesi. Little is know about the relationship between the two species. Data strongly suggests that A. bullisi lives permanently attached around the anterior tube opening of the L. luymesi, preying on the eggs released by them.

Known Predators:

  • Jarnegren, J., C. Tobias, S. Macko, C. Young. 2005. Egg predation fuels unique species association at deep-sea hydrocarbon seeps. Biological Bulletin, 209: 87-93.
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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Communication and Perception

There is little known about the communication and perceptions methods of L. luymesi.

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Life Cycle

Development

Larval tubeworms must settle on a hard substrate, usually carbonate rock, in areas of active seepage from the vents in order to ensure their growth. Unlike hydrothermal vent worms, these cold seep worms grow from both their posterior and anterior ends and inhabit the entire length of their tubes. They can extend the posterior ends of their bodies and tubes up to 0.5 m into the sediment, below their original point of attachment. Research experiments have shown that L. luymesi acquires sulfide from the environment using this extension of its posterior end, known as the “root”. When settling, the worms form bush-like aggregations of 500 to 2000 individuals that can cover areas as large as 1600 square meters. Lamellibrachia luymesi grows slowly to lengths over 2 m above the seafloor, and can live from 170 to 250 years.

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Life Expectancy

Lifespan/Longevity

The deep sea tube worms of L. luymesi are one the longest-lived of all animals. Members of this species require between 170 and 250 years to grow to a length of two meters. This remarkable life span is especially noteworthy because the rate of growth is so slow compared to that of its vent relatives, which are among the fastest growing invertebrates. This also makes L. luymesi the most long-lived non-colonial marine invertebrate known. Individuals of L. luymesi do not grow at their maximal rates throughout their lives, but rather growth occurs episodically.

  • Bergquist, D., F. Williams, C. Fisher. 2000. Longevity record for deep-sea invertebrate. Nature, 403: 499-500.
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Reproduction

Little information is known about the mating systems of L. luymesi. Due to the habitat of L. luymesi, it is very hard to study them. No courtship behaviors have been observed.

The colonies of L. luymesi that have been studied have been determined to consist of separate sexes, male and female.

In females, the mature oocytes can range from 75-105 μm in diameter. The female reproductive system of L. luymesi opens at the anterior end of the trunk. The gonads are located in the anterior two-thirds of the trunk. Extended through the trunk are a pair of oviducts. Terminal portions of each oviduct are enlarged as an egg storage compartment known as the ovisac. The spermatheca, where sperm is stored for fertilization, is located at the far posterior end.

After males have matured, sperm stay in large bundles attached to cytophores, within the sperm ducts. Sperm have a twisted head formed by an acrosome that is followed by a tapering helical nucleus surrounded by a long mitochondrial helix, a short centriolar region, and a long flagellum.

Whether fertilization is internal or external in L. luymesi has been debated. However, direct sperm transfer and internal fertilization seem to be the principal means of fertilization among vestimentiferans in general. During reproduction, male L. luymesi release their sperm bundles and they travel to the oviducts of female L. luymesi. Once the bundles reach the spermatheca, they disperse. Each sperm aligns itself with a primary oocyte. The trade-off of internal fertilization followed by zygote release (rather than brooding) is that the tubeworms have a higher rate of fertilization. In addition, sperm storage is an ideal strategy for L. luymesi. Due to the habitat, periodic cues for gametogensis and spawning synchrony are limited. Dispersal is not negatively affected by this strategy.

Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual ; fertilization (Internal ); broadcast (group) spawning; sperm-storing

Embryos are apparently released with no additional investment from the parents.

Parental Investment: no parental involvement

  • Hilario, A., C. Young, P. Tyler. 2005. Sperm storage, internal fertilization, and embryonic dispersal in vent and seep tubeworms (Polychaeta: Siboglinidae: Vestimentifera). The Biological Bulletin, 208: 20-28.
  • Marotta, R., G. Melone, M. Bright, M. Ferraguti. 2005. Spermatozoa and sperm aggregates in the vestimentiferan Lamellibrachia luymesi compared with those of Riftia pachyptila (Polychaeta: Siboglinidae:Vestimentifera). The Biological Bulletin, 209: 215-226.
  • Southward, E. 1999. Development of Perviata and Vestimentifera (Pogonophora). Hydrobiologia, 402: 185-202.
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Lamellibrachia luymesi

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


There are 14 barcode sequences available from BOLD and GenBank.  Below is a sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.  See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen and other sequences.

AAAGATATTGGAACTTTATACTTCCTAGTAGGAATCTGAACAGGTTTAGTAGCCACTAGAATA---AGACTATTAATTCGAGCTGAACTTGGTCAGCCCGGAACACTCTTAGGAGAT---GACCAAATTTACAATTGCCTTATTACAGCTCATGGGCTTCTAATAATATTTTTTGTGGTCCTCCCTATTTTAATAGGAGGGTTTGGAAATTGACTAGTTCCTTTAATA---CTTGGAGCCCCCGACATAGCTTTCCCACGAATCAACAATCTAGGATTTTGACTAATTCCCCCCGCAGTAATCTTACTAGTAATATCCGCTTTTATTGAAAAAGGTGCCGGAACAGGATGAACTGTTTACCCTCCCTTAGCATCCAATATTGCTCATGCAGGACCATGCATTGACCTA---GCCATTTTTGCTCTACACCTCTCAGGTGTATCCTCAATTCTAGCCTCAATTAACTTCATTACTACTGTAATAAACATACGATATAAAGGATTACGTCTAGAACGGGTTCCTTTATTTGTATGAAGAGTTAAACTAACCGCAGTTCTTCTTCTCCTTTCAATTCCAGTTCTTGCAGGA---GGACTTACCATATTACTTACAGACCGAAACCTAAATACATCCTTCTTTGACCCAGCAGGAGGAGGAGATCCAGTTCTATATCAACATTTATTCTGATTTTTT
-- end --

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Lamellibrachia luymesi

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 14
Specimens with Barcodes: 14
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

This species is not protected by any treaty or regulation. Very little is known about that status of its populations.

US Federal List: no special status

CITES: no special status

State of Michigan List: no special status

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

There are no known adverse effects of L. luymesi on humans.

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Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

There are no known positive effects of L. luymesi on humans.

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Wikipedia

Lamellibrachia luymesi

Lamellibrachia luymesi is a species of tube worms in the family Siboglinidae.

It lives at deep-sea cold seeps where hydrocarbons (oil and methane) are leaking out of the seafloor. It is entirely reliant on internal, sulfide-oxidizing bacterial symbionts for its nutrition.

Symbiotic vestimentiferan tubeworm Lamellibrachia luymesi from a cold seep at 550 m depth in the Gulf of Mexico in the sediments around the base are orange bacterial mats of the sulfide-oxidizing bacteria Beggiatoa spp. and empty shells of various clams and snails, which are also common inhabitants of the seeps.[1]
Model of Lamellibrachia luymesi include advection and diffusion of sulfate, sulfide, methane, bicarbonate, and hydrogen ions as well as organic carbon content of sediments.[2]

Lamellibrachia luymesi provides the bacteria with hydrogen sulfide and oxygen by taking them up from the environment and binding them to a specialized hemoglobin molecule. Unlike the tube worms that live at hydrothermal vents, Lamellibrachia uses a posterior extension of its body called the root to take up hydrogen sulfide from the seep sediments. Lamellibrachia may also help fuel the generation of sulfide by excreting sulfate through their roots into the sediments below the aggregations.[2]

The most well-known seeps where Lamellibrachia luymesi lives are in the northern Gulf of Mexico from 500 to 800 m depth. This tube worm can reach lengths of over 3 m (10 ft), and grows very slowly, and its longevity is over 250 years. It forms biogenic habitat by creating large aggregations of hundreds to thousands of individuals. Living in these aggregations are over a hundred different species of animals, many of which are found only at these seeps.

References[edit]

This article incorporates a CC-BY-2.5 from references.[1][2]

  1. ^ a b Boetius A. (2005). "Microfauna–Macrofauna Interaction in the Seafloor: Lessons from the Tubeworm". PLoS Biology 3(3): e102. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0030102
  2. ^ a b c Cordes E. E., Arthur M. A., Shea K., Arvidson R. S. & Fisher C. R. (2005). "Modeling the Mutualistic Interactions between Tubeworms and Microbial Consortia". PLoS Biology 3(3): e77. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0030077
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