Deep-sea echinoderm oxygen consumption rates and an interclass comparison of metabolic rates in Asteroidea, Crinoidea, Echinoidea, Holothuroidea and Ophiuroidea

Hughes, Sarah Jane Murty, Ruhl, Henry A., Hawkins, Lawrence E., Hauton, Chris, Boorman, Ben and Billett, David S.M. (2011) Deep-sea echinoderm oxygen consumption rates and an interclass comparison of metabolic rates in Asteroidea, Crinoidea, Echinoidea, Holothuroidea and Ophiuroidea. The Journal of Experimental Biology, 214, 2512-2521. (doi:10.1242/jeb.055954).


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Echinoderms are important components of deep-sea communities because their abundance and their activities contribute to carbon cycling. Estimating echinoderm contribution to food webs and carbon cycling is important to our understanding of the functioning of the deep-sea environment and how this may alter in the future as climatic changes take place. Metabolic rate data from deep-sea echinoderm species are however scarce. To obtain such data from abyssal echinoderms a novel in situ respirometer system, the Benthic Incubation Chamber System (BICS), was deployed by ROV at depths ranging from 2200 to 3600 m. Oxygen consumption rates were obtained in situ from four species of abyssal echinoderm (Ophiuroidea and Holothuroidea). The design and operation of two versions of BICS are presented here, together with the in situ respirometry measurements. These results were then incorporated into a larger echinoderm metabolic rate data set, which incorporated the metabolic rates of 84 echinoderm species from all five classes (Asteroidea, Crinoidea, Echinoidea, Holothuroidea and Ophiuroidea). The allometric scaling relationships between metabolic rate and body mass derived in this study for each echinoderm class were found to vary. Analysis of the data set indicated no change in echinoderm metabolic rate with depth (by class or phylum). The allometric scaling relationships presented here provide updated information for weight dependant deep-sea echinoderm metabolic rates for use in ecosystem models, which will contribute to the study of both shallow water and deep-sea ecosystem functioning and biogeochemistry.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1242/jeb.055954
Additional Information: Supplementary material available online at
ISSNs: 0022-0949
Keywords: deep sea; ROV; echinoderm; oxygen consumption; metabolism; respiration
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GC Oceanography
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Divisions : University Structure - Pre August 2011 > National Oceanography Centre (NERC)
University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Ocean & Earth Science (SOC/SOES)
National Oceanography Centre (NERC) > Ocean Biogeochemistry and Ecosystems
ePrint ID: 193485
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
Date Deposited: 18 Jul 2011 12:23
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 13:43
Hotspot ecosystem research and Man's impact on European seas (HERMIONE)
Funded by: European Commission - FP7 (226354)
1 April 2009 to 30 September 2012
Hotspot ecosystem research on the margins of European seas (HERMES)
Funded by: European Commission - FP6 (511234)
1 April 2005 to 31 March 2009

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