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Differences in the carbon flows in the benthic food webs of abyssal hill and plain habitats

Differences in the carbon flows in the benthic food webs of abyssal hill and plain habitats
Differences in the carbon flows in the benthic food webs of abyssal hill and plain habitats
Inputs of detritus from the surface ocean are an important driver of community dynamics in the deep sea. The assessment of the flow of carbon through the benthic food web gives insight into how the community is sustained, and its resilience to fluctuations in food supply. We used a linear inverse model to compare the carbon flow through the food webs on an abyssal hill and the nearby plain at the Porcupine Abyssal Plain sustained observatory (4850 m water depth; northeast Atlantic), to examine the partitioning of detrital input in these substantially different megafaunal communities. We found minimal variation in carbon flows at the plain over two years, but differences in the detrital inputs and in the processing of that carbon input between the hill and plain habitats. Suspension feeding dominated metazoan carbon processing on the hill, removing nearly all labile detritus input to the system. By contrast, half of all labile detritus was deposited and available for deposit feeders on the abyssal plain. This suggests that the biomass on the hill is dependent on a more variable carbon supply than the plain. The presence of millions of abyssal hills globally suggests that the high benthic biomass and respiration, and reduced deposition of detritus may be pervasive, albeit with varying intensity.
0024-3590
1771–1782
Durden, J.M.
d7101246-b76b-44bc-8956-8ca4ae62ae1f
Ruhl, H.A.
177608ef-7793-4911-86cf-cd9960ff22b6
Pebody, C.
2aa9ccad-ac79-4ad2-b367-aba3dfc94a53
Blackbird, S.J.
61865255-86d5-4379-bc09-fc2891cd78a7
van Oevelen, D.
11151b2d-0c28-4a5c-8d32-f966c4606b76
Durden, J.M.
d7101246-b76b-44bc-8956-8ca4ae62ae1f
Ruhl, H.A.
177608ef-7793-4911-86cf-cd9960ff22b6
Pebody, C.
2aa9ccad-ac79-4ad2-b367-aba3dfc94a53
Blackbird, S.J.
61865255-86d5-4379-bc09-fc2891cd78a7
van Oevelen, D.
11151b2d-0c28-4a5c-8d32-f966c4606b76

Durden, J.M., Ruhl, H.A., Pebody, C., Blackbird, S.J. and van Oevelen, D. (2017) Differences in the carbon flows in the benthic food webs of abyssal hill and plain habitats. Limnology and Oceanography, 62 (4), 1771–1782. (doi:10.1002/lno.10532).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Inputs of detritus from the surface ocean are an important driver of community dynamics in the deep sea. The assessment of the flow of carbon through the benthic food web gives insight into how the community is sustained, and its resilience to fluctuations in food supply. We used a linear inverse model to compare the carbon flow through the food webs on an abyssal hill and the nearby plain at the Porcupine Abyssal Plain sustained observatory (4850 m water depth; northeast Atlantic), to examine the partitioning of detrital input in these substantially different megafaunal communities. We found minimal variation in carbon flows at the plain over two years, but differences in the detrital inputs and in the processing of that carbon input between the hill and plain habitats. Suspension feeding dominated metazoan carbon processing on the hill, removing nearly all labile detritus input to the system. By contrast, half of all labile detritus was deposited and available for deposit feeders on the abyssal plain. This suggests that the biomass on the hill is dependent on a more variable carbon supply than the plain. The presence of millions of abyssal hills globally suggests that the high benthic biomass and respiration, and reduced deposition of detritus may be pervasive, albeit with varying intensity.

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Accepted/In Press date: 20 January 2017
e-pub ahead of print date: 24 March 2017
Published date: 1 July 2017
Organisations: Ocean and Earth Science, Marine Biogeochemistry

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 405282
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/405282
ISSN: 0024-3590
PURE UUID: bd61e808-1b72-4e59-852c-7bb0691c3a2b

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Date deposited: 31 Jan 2017 13:04
Last modified: 10 Dec 2019 06:14

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Contributors

Author: J.M. Durden
Author: H.A. Ruhl
Author: C. Pebody
Author: S.J. Blackbird
Author: D. van Oevelen

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