Approximately 25 deep sea brine pools occur along the mid axis of the Red Sea. These hypersaline, anoxic, and acidic environments have previously been reported to host diverse microbial communities. We visited the Kebrit brine pool in April 2013 and found macrofauna present just above the brine–seawater interface (~1465 m). In particular, inactive sulfur chimneys had associated epifauna of sea anemones, sabellid type polychaetes, and hydroids, and infauna consisting of capitellid polychaetes, gastropods of the genus Laeviphitus (fam. Elachisinidae), and top snails of the family Cocculinidae. The deep Red Sea generally is regarded as extremely poor in benthos. We hypothesize that the periphery along the Kebrit holds increased biomass and biodiversity that are sustained by prokaryotes associated with the brine pool or co-occurring seeps.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Aquatic Science