Alvin dives and camera tows within the "meander area" of the Monterey and Ascension Fan Valleys have located nine chemosynthetic communities over depths ranging from 3000 to 3600 m over a distance of 55 km. Most of the observed communities consist largely of Calyptogena phaseoliformis, but Solemya (species unknown) and a pogonophoran (genus Polybrachia), have also been identified. The delta-C-13 values (-35.0 to -33.6 per mil) and the presence of APS reductase and ATP sulfurylase in the C. phaseoliformis tissue is consistent with sulfur chemoautotrophy. Two reduced organic matter sources for the H2S are proposed: (1) older beds exposed by the deep erosion (up to 400 m) of the fan valleys and (2) concentrations of anaerobically decomposed organic matter buried in the valley floor.
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