Macro-ecology of cold seeps in the South China Sea

Xudong Wang, Hongxiang Guan, Jianwen Qiu, Ting Xu, Jörn Peckmann, Duofu Chen, Dong Feng*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


After nearly 20 years of exploration, various areas of the seafloor with hydrocarbon seepage have been discovered in the South China Sea (SCS). Through linking subsurface and seafloor biospheres, seeps have become natural laboratories to enhance our knowledge on the processes of hydrocarbon migration and associated hydrocarbon-based ecosystems in the marine environment. This review summarizes the distribution of macrofauna in the active seep areas of the SCS and describes the physiological characteristics of three groups of representative macrofauna (bathymodioline mussels, pliocardiine clams, siboglinid tubeworms). In addition, a comparison is made between the seep macrofauna of the SCS and the Northwest Pacific Ocean. Modes of energy transfer and microbial processes are elucidated by integrating trace element, stable isotope, and lipid biomarker data of macrofaunal soft tissues. Our aims are to provide an overview of the macro-ecology of the SCS seeps and to underscore aspects which desire more research efforts in the future.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100081
Number of pages11
JournalGeosystems and Geoenvironment
Issue number3
Early online date18 May 2022
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022

User-Defined Keywords

  • Hydrocarbon seep
  • Macro-ecology
  • Chemosynthetic ecosystem
  • South China Sea


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