Life in the slow lane: Growth and longevity of cold-seep vestimentiferans

C. R. Fisher, I. A. Urcuyo, M. A. Simpkins, E. Nix

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

92 Scopus citations


Yearly, in situ growth of two species of cold-seep vestimentiferan tubeworms was measured using a combination of banding and video analysis. A total of 53 animals from 15 different aggregations were included in the study, which was conducted over a 4-year period. The most common species, Lamellibrachia sp., grows very slowly (averaging 0.77 cm·a-1) and yet commonly reaches lengths over 2 m. Based on conservative calculations we conclude that individuals in mature aggregations are a minimum of 100 a old and are likely to be much older. Smaller numbers of a second species of vestimentiferan (related to escarpids) were also monitored over this period. We consider it likely that the individuals of the second species banded for this study were already on the plateau of their growth curve, and that the very low average growth rates recorded here would lead to an overestimate of the ages of the individuals used in this study. However, life history considerations combined with the extremely low measured growth rates of this species suggest it is also long-lived.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-94
Number of pages12
JournalMarine Ecology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1997

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology


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