The volcanic origin of the Azores archipelago (Portugal) gives rise to active deep sea and shallow water hydrothermal activity that affects benthic communities. Intertidal seaweed surveys were conducted at two shores affected by intense shallow water hydrothermal vents. Water temperature, acidity and salinity were monitored. Seaweed communities were found to be species poor and have a disproportionally larger number of filamentous early successional species on shores that are subject to the effect of hot and acidic freshwater of volcanic origin. There is an ecological resemblance between hydrothermally affected seaweed communities in the Azores and those affected by acid mine drainage in the UK, thus indicating that hydrothermalism can be a useful scenario for pollution studies under conditions of ocean warming and acidification.
Wallenstein F. M., Couto R. P., Torrão D. F., Neto A. I., Rodrigues A. S., Wilkinson M., in press. Intertidal rocky shore seaweed communities subject to the influence of shallow water hydrothermal activity in São Miguel (Azores, Portugal). Helgoland Marine Research. Article (subscription needed).