Consumption of a large bathyal food fall, a six month study in the north-east Atlantic

Kirsty Kemp, Alan John Jamieson, Philip Michael Bagley, H. Mcgrath, David Mark Bailey, M. A. Collins, Imants George Priede

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

We deployed 2 porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) carcasses at bathyal depth (2555 to 27 10 m) in the Porcupine Seabight, NE Atlantic for periods of 1 wk and 6 mo respectively. Consumption rates of 0.085 and 0.078 kg h(-1) were similar to those observed at abyssal depths in the Atlantic, and 1 order of magnitude slower than at bathyal depth in the Pacific. A distinct succession of scavenging species was observed at both carcasses: the abyssal grenadier Coryphaenoides armatus and the cusk eel Spectrunculus grandis numerically dominated the initial phase of carcass consumption and, once the bulk of the soft tissue had been removed (by Day 15), were succeeded by the squat lobster Munidopsis crassa. The blue hake Antimora rostrata and amphipod numbers were unexpectedly low, and consumption was attributed largely to direct feeding by C. armatus. The interaction of a crustacean prey species (M crassa) and cephalopod predator (Benthoctopus sp.) was observed for the first time, revealing that large food falls also attract secondary predators that do not utilise the food fall directly. The staying time of a single parasitised C, armatus (18 h) greatly exceeded previous estimates (<= 8 h). This study describes the first large food fall to be monitored at high frequency over a 6 mo period, and the first observations of a large food fall at bathyal depth in the NE Atlantic. It enables direct comparison with similarly sized food falls at abyssal depth, much larger megacarrion falls, and similar studies differing in geographic location, in particular those carried out under Pacific whale migration corridors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-76
Number of pages11
JournalMarine Ecology Progress Series
Volume310
Publication statusPublished - 2006

Keywords

  • food fall
  • time-series
  • scavenger
  • deep-sea
  • Benthoctopus sp.
  • Coryphaenoides armatus
  • Munidopsis crassa
  • deep ocean benthic observatory
  • SANTA-CATALINA BASIN
  • SEA DEMERSAL FISHES
  • DEEP ARABIAN SEA
  • SCAVENGER ASSEMBLAGES
  • ROCKALL TROUGH
  • BAITED CAMERA
  • PACIFIC-OCEAN
  • NORTH PACIFIC
  • LIVING FISHES
  • WHALE FALLS

Cite this

Kemp, K., Jamieson, A. J., Bagley, P. M., Mcgrath, H., Bailey, D. M., Collins, M. A., & Priede, I. G. (2006). Consumption of a large bathyal food fall, a six month study in the north-east Atlantic. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 310, 65-76.