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A new macrofaunal limit in the deep biosphere revealed by extreme burrow depths in ancient sediments

A new macrofaunal limit in the deep biosphere revealed by extreme burrow depths in ancient sediments
A new macrofaunal limit in the deep biosphere revealed by extreme burrow depths in ancient sediments

Macrofauna is known to inhabit the top few 10s cm of marine sediments, with rare burrows up to two metres below the seabed. Here, we provide evidence from deep-water Permian strata for a previously unrecognised habitat up to at least 8 metres below the sediment-water interface. Infaunal organisms exploited networks of forcibly injected sand below the seabed, forming living traces and reworking sediment. This is the first record that shows sediment injections are responsible for hosting macrofaunal life metres below the contemporaneous seabed. In addition, given the widespread occurrence of thick sandy successions that accumulate in deep-water settings, macrofauna living in the deep biosphere are likely much more prevalent than considered previously. These findings should influence future sampling strategies to better constrain the depth range of infaunal animals living in modern deep-sea sands. One Sentence Summary: The living depth of infaunal macrofauna is shown to reach at least 8 metres in new habitats associated with sand injections.

2045-2322
Cobain, S. L.
1d523e6d-eb75-497c-9165-f1276ee8b8ed
Hodgson, D. M.
f9df3830-1972-4bfa-80bb-4366c46fd552
Peakall, J.
2351dbf6-2c4f-4250-bacf-fe1b69870f26
Wignall, P. B.
494871ab-e1c1-4bb9-9575-7f32e100dea8
Cobain, M. R.D.
af8b6ff0-0fb7-4e82-9b21-15c10f8abded
Cobain, S. L.
1d523e6d-eb75-497c-9165-f1276ee8b8ed
Hodgson, D. M.
f9df3830-1972-4bfa-80bb-4366c46fd552
Peakall, J.
2351dbf6-2c4f-4250-bacf-fe1b69870f26
Wignall, P. B.
494871ab-e1c1-4bb9-9575-7f32e100dea8
Cobain, M. R.D.
af8b6ff0-0fb7-4e82-9b21-15c10f8abded

Cobain, S. L., Hodgson, D. M., Peakall, J., Wignall, P. B. and Cobain, M. R.D. (2018) A new macrofaunal limit in the deep biosphere revealed by extreme burrow depths in ancient sediments. Scientific Reports, 8 (1). (doi:10.1038/s41598-017-18481-w).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Macrofauna is known to inhabit the top few 10s cm of marine sediments, with rare burrows up to two metres below the seabed. Here, we provide evidence from deep-water Permian strata for a previously unrecognised habitat up to at least 8 metres below the sediment-water interface. Infaunal organisms exploited networks of forcibly injected sand below the seabed, forming living traces and reworking sediment. This is the first record that shows sediment injections are responsible for hosting macrofaunal life metres below the contemporaneous seabed. In addition, given the widespread occurrence of thick sandy successions that accumulate in deep-water settings, macrofauna living in the deep biosphere are likely much more prevalent than considered previously. These findings should influence future sampling strategies to better constrain the depth range of infaunal animals living in modern deep-sea sands. One Sentence Summary: The living depth of infaunal macrofauna is shown to reach at least 8 metres in new habitats associated with sand injections.

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Accepted/In Press date: 6 December 2017
e-pub ahead of print date: 10 January 2018
Published date: 1 December 2018

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 417336
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/417336
ISSN: 2045-2322
PURE UUID: a40e127b-7014-4d64-8cde-48e662378294
ORCID for M. R.D. Cobain: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-1701-3986

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Date deposited: 30 Jan 2018 17:30
Last modified: 06 Jun 2018 12:18

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Contributors

Author: S. L. Cobain
Author: D. M. Hodgson
Author: J. Peakall
Author: P. B. Wignall
Author: M. R.D. Cobain ORCID iD

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