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Improving the estimation of deep-sea megabenthos biomass: dimension to wet weight conversions for abyssal invertebrates

Improving the estimation of deep-sea megabenthos biomass: dimension to wet weight conversions for abyssal invertebrates
Improving the estimation of deep-sea megabenthos biomass: dimension to wet weight conversions for abyssal invertebrates
Deep-sea megafaunal biomass has typically been assessed by sampling with benthic sledges and trawls, but non-destructive methods, particularly photography, are becoming increasingly common. Estimation of individual wet weight in seabed photographs has been achieved using equations obtained from measured trawl-caught specimens for a limited number of taxa. However, a lack of appropriate conversion factors has limited estimation across taxa encompassing whole communities. Here we compile relationships between measured body dimensions and preserved wet weights for a comprehensive catalogue of abyssal epibenthic megafauna, using ~47,000 specimens from the Porcupine Abyssal Plain (NE Atlantic) housed in the Discovery Collections. The practical application of the method is demonstrated using an extremely large dataset of specimen measurements from seabed photographs taken in the same location. We also collate corresponding field data on fresh wet weight, to estimate the impact of fixation in formalin and preservation in industrial denatured alcohol on the apparent biomass. Taxa with substantial proportions of soft tissues lose 35 to 60% of their wet weight during preservation, while those with greater proportions of hard tissues lose 10 to 20%. Our total estimated fresh wet weight biomass of holothurians and cnidarians in the photographic survey was ~20 times the previous estimates of total invertebrate biomass based on trawl catches. This dramatic uplift in megabenthic biomass has significant implications for studies of standing stocks, community metabolism, and numerical modelling of benthic carbon flows.
Biomass, Invertebrate, Preservation, Wet weight, Photograph, Deep sea, Porcupine Abyssal Plain
71-79
Durden, Jennifer M.
d7101246-b76b-44bc-8956-8ca4ae62ae1f
Bett, Brian J.
61342990-13be-45ae-9f5c-9540114335d9
Horton, Tammy
c4b41665-f0bc-4f0f-a7af-b2b9afc02e34
Serpell-Stephens, Amanda
7c028081-4e76-4146-99f8-d34e3b6713d6
Morris, Kirsty J.
4640fbf5-0c92-476c-a35f-281ccf41d6b0
Billett, David S.M.
aab439e2-c839-4cd2-815c-3d401e0468db
Ruhl, Henry A.
177608ef-7793-4911-86cf-cd9960ff22b6
Durden, Jennifer M.
d7101246-b76b-44bc-8956-8ca4ae62ae1f
Bett, Brian J.
61342990-13be-45ae-9f5c-9540114335d9
Horton, Tammy
c4b41665-f0bc-4f0f-a7af-b2b9afc02e34
Serpell-Stephens, Amanda
7c028081-4e76-4146-99f8-d34e3b6713d6
Morris, Kirsty J.
4640fbf5-0c92-476c-a35f-281ccf41d6b0
Billett, David S.M.
aab439e2-c839-4cd2-815c-3d401e0468db
Ruhl, Henry A.
177608ef-7793-4911-86cf-cd9960ff22b6

Durden, Jennifer M., Bett, Brian J., Horton, Tammy, Serpell-Stephens, Amanda, Morris, Kirsty J., Billett, David S.M. and Ruhl, Henry A. (2016) Improving the estimation of deep-sea megabenthos biomass: dimension to wet weight conversions for abyssal invertebrates. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 552, 71-79. (doi:10.3354/meps11769).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Deep-sea megafaunal biomass has typically been assessed by sampling with benthic sledges and trawls, but non-destructive methods, particularly photography, are becoming increasingly common. Estimation of individual wet weight in seabed photographs has been achieved using equations obtained from measured trawl-caught specimens for a limited number of taxa. However, a lack of appropriate conversion factors has limited estimation across taxa encompassing whole communities. Here we compile relationships between measured body dimensions and preserved wet weights for a comprehensive catalogue of abyssal epibenthic megafauna, using ~47,000 specimens from the Porcupine Abyssal Plain (NE Atlantic) housed in the Discovery Collections. The practical application of the method is demonstrated using an extremely large dataset of specimen measurements from seabed photographs taken in the same location. We also collate corresponding field data on fresh wet weight, to estimate the impact of fixation in formalin and preservation in industrial denatured alcohol on the apparent biomass. Taxa with substantial proportions of soft tissues lose 35 to 60% of their wet weight during preservation, while those with greater proportions of hard tissues lose 10 to 20%. Our total estimated fresh wet weight biomass of holothurians and cnidarians in the photographic survey was ~20 times the previous estimates of total invertebrate biomass based on trawl catches. This dramatic uplift in megabenthic biomass has significant implications for studies of standing stocks, community metabolism, and numerical modelling of benthic carbon flows.

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Accepted/In Press date: May 2016
Published date: 23 June 2016
Keywords: Biomass, Invertebrate, Preservation, Wet weight, Photograph, Deep sea, Porcupine Abyssal Plain
Organisations: Ocean and Earth Science, Marine Biogeochemistry

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 394238
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/394238
PURE UUID: 38bbab3d-6e0d-4f12-9981-3ca17671ec70

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Date deposited: 17 May 2016 09:02
Last modified: 09 Jan 2022 05:55

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Contributors

Author: Jennifer M. Durden
Author: Brian J. Bett
Author: Tammy Horton
Author: Amanda Serpell-Stephens
Author: Kirsty J. Morris
Author: David S.M. Billett
Author: Henry A. Ruhl

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