Polychaete abundance, biomass and diversity patterns at the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, North Atlantic Ocean

Mark A. Shields, Raimundo Blanco-Perez

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Abstract

Recent studies have revealed that the Mid-Atlantic Ridge (MAR) in the North Atlantic Ocean accounts for a large proportion of available bathyal soft-sediment habitat. When comparing the MAR to the continental margins of the North Atlantic, it is apparent that very little is known about the soft-sediment macrofaunal community associated with the MAR. In the present study, as part of the ECOMAR (Ecosystems of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge at the Sub-Polar Front and Charlie–Gibbs Fracture Zone) project, the polychaete component of the MAR macrofaunal community was investigated. A total of 751 polychaete specimens and 133 species were identified from megacorer samples collected at four MAR sites (48–54°N, depth: 2500–2800 m) sampled during the RRS James Cook 48 cruise in the summer of 2010. Polychaetes were the most abundant member of the macrofaunal community, and there was no significant difference in polychaete abundance, biomass and diversity between any of the MAR sites. In addition, the MAR did not appear to provide a physical barrier to the distribution of bathyal polychaetes either side of the ridge.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)315-325
Number of pages11
JournalDeep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography
Volume98
Issue numberB
Early online date9 Apr 2013
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2013

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Keywords

  • Mid Atlantic Ridge
  • macrofauna
  • polychaete
  • biomass
  • diversity
  • North Atlantic Ocean

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