Scavenging amphipods from the Wallaby-Zenith Fracture Zone: Extending the hadal paradigm beyond subduction trenches

Johanna N.J. Weston*, Rachael A. Peart, Heather A. Stewart, Heather Ritchie, Stuart B. Piertney, Thomas D. Linley, Alan J. Jamieson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Our understanding of the ecology of the hadal zone (> 6000 m depth) is based solely on subduction trenches, leaving other geomorphological features, such as fracture zones, troughs, and basins, understudied. To address this knowledge gap, the Wallaby-Zenith Fracture Zone, Indian Ocean (WZFZ; ~ 22°S, 102°E; maximum depth 6625 m measured during Expedition SO258) was studied using free-fall baited landers. We assessed the amphipod distribution and community assemblage of this non-subduction hadal feature and compared it to subduction hadal features. Eleven species were identified across the abyssal-hadal transition zone using a paired morphological and DNA barcoding approach. The community composition was found to change gradually from abyssal to hadal depths, which contrasts with the ecotone shift characteristic of subduction trenches. A large population of Bathycallisoma schellenbergi(Birstein & Vinogradov, 1958), a quintessential hadal amphipod, was present at the flat bottom of the WZFZ. Further, an mtDNA phylogeny resolved a degree of phylogeographic structure between the B. schellenbergi WZFZ population and four previously sampled Pacific Ocean subduction trench populations, indicating these features are not interconnected through ongoing gene flow. Combined, these data indicate that some amphipods have far broader distributions than previously understood, with some species present in both hadal subduction trenches and non-subduction fracture zones and basins interspersed across the abyssal plains. This initial exploration highlights that whilst non-subduction features are an overlooked minor fraction of the total hadal area, they are essential to our understanding of the ecological and evolutionary dynamics across the hadal zone.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1
Number of pages14
JournalMarine Biology
Volume168
Issue number1
Early online date21 Dec 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2021

Keywords

  • AFANASY NIKITIN SEAMOUNT
  • POPULATION-STRUCTURE
  • COMMUNITY STRUCTURE
  • KERMADEC TRENCH
  • INDIAN-OCEAN
  • CRUSTACEA
  • LYSIANASSOIDEA
  • ABYSSAL
  • DEPTHS
  • ALICELLIDAE

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