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Insights into the abundance and diversity of abyssal megafauna in a polymetallic-nodule region in the eastern Clarion-Clipperton Zone

Insights into the abundance and diversity of abyssal megafauna in a polymetallic-nodule region in the eastern Clarion-Clipperton Zone
Insights into the abundance and diversity of abyssal megafauna in a polymetallic-nodule region in the eastern Clarion-Clipperton Zone
There is growing interest in mining polymetallic nodules in the abyssal Clarion-Clipperton Zone (CCZ) in the Pacific. Nonetheless, benthic communities in this region remain poorly known. The ABYSSLINE Project is conducting benthic biological baseline surveys for the UK Seabed Resources Ltd. exploration contract area (UK-1) in the CCZ. Using a Remotely Operated Vehicle, we surveyed megafauna at four sites within a 900?km2 stratum in the UK-1 contract area, and at a site ~250?km east of the UK-1 area, allowing us to make the first estimates of abundance and diversity. We distinguished 170 morphotypes within the UK-1 contract area but species-richness estimators suggest this could be as high as 229. Megafaunal abundance averaged 1.48?ind. m?2. Seven of 12 collected metazoan species were new to science, and four belonged to new genera. Approximately half of the morphotypes occurred only on polymetallic nodules. There were weak, but statistically significant, positive correlations between megafaunal and nodule abundance. Eastern-CCZ megafaunal diversity is high relative to two abyssal datasets from other regions, however comparisons with CCZ and DISCOL datasets are problematic given the lack of standardised methods and taxonomy. We postulate that CCZ megafaunal diversity is driven in part by habitat heterogeneity.
30492
Amon, Diva J.
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Ziegler, Amanda F.
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Dahlgren, Thomas G.
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Glover, Adrian G.
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Goineau, Aurélie
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Gooday, Andrew J.
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Wiklund, Helena
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Smith, Craig R.
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Amon, Diva J.
c2aadd2c-e1e1-4f4f-9e2f-1a55d6de3ebc
Ziegler, Amanda F.
ab32be72-a3f2-4dd6-a00b-48a33e071935
Dahlgren, Thomas G.
43eec783-a42a-4296-93aa-8f5a491e4e19
Glover, Adrian G.
91192a3a-fc25-4c1f-b062-2e4da183272e
Goineau, Aurélie
9fe74a37-6d19-42e5-85d1-fe1243ce4fcc
Gooday, Andrew J.
d9331d67-d518-4cfb-baed-9df3333b05b9
Wiklund, Helena
7c228af0-33a8-471f-b0f8-bc1e558cf8ed
Smith, Craig R.
f930361f-9312-4e0a-9832-26008197eb32

Amon, Diva J., Ziegler, Amanda F., Dahlgren, Thomas G., Glover, Adrian G., Goineau, Aurélie, Gooday, Andrew J., Wiklund, Helena and Smith, Craig R. (2016) Insights into the abundance and diversity of abyssal megafauna in a polymetallic-nodule region in the eastern Clarion-Clipperton Zone. Scientific Reports, 6, 30492. (doi:10.1038/srep30492).

Record type: Article

Abstract

There is growing interest in mining polymetallic nodules in the abyssal Clarion-Clipperton Zone (CCZ) in the Pacific. Nonetheless, benthic communities in this region remain poorly known. The ABYSSLINE Project is conducting benthic biological baseline surveys for the UK Seabed Resources Ltd. exploration contract area (UK-1) in the CCZ. Using a Remotely Operated Vehicle, we surveyed megafauna at four sites within a 900?km2 stratum in the UK-1 contract area, and at a site ~250?km east of the UK-1 area, allowing us to make the first estimates of abundance and diversity. We distinguished 170 morphotypes within the UK-1 contract area but species-richness estimators suggest this could be as high as 229. Megafaunal abundance averaged 1.48?ind. m?2. Seven of 12 collected metazoan species were new to science, and four belonged to new genera. Approximately half of the morphotypes occurred only on polymetallic nodules. There were weak, but statistically significant, positive correlations between megafaunal and nodule abundance. Eastern-CCZ megafaunal diversity is high relative to two abyssal datasets from other regions, however comparisons with CCZ and DISCOL datasets are problematic given the lack of standardised methods and taxonomy. We postulate that CCZ megafaunal diversity is driven in part by habitat heterogeneity.

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Accepted/In Press date: 9 July 2016
e-pub ahead of print date: 29 July 2016
Organisations: Marine Biogeochemistry

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Local EPrints ID: 401507
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/401507
PURE UUID: 818a1c5d-fa71-43a8-b34e-af78ecd65e6b

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Date deposited: 12 Oct 2016 16:19
Last modified: 16 Dec 2019 19:40

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Contributors

Author: Diva J. Amon
Author: Amanda F. Ziegler
Author: Thomas G. Dahlgren
Author: Adrian G. Glover
Author: Aurélie Goineau
Author: Andrew J. Gooday
Author: Helena Wiklund
Author: Craig R. Smith

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