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Abyssal plain faunal carbon flows remain depressed 26 years after a simulated deep-sea mining disturbance

Abyssal plain faunal carbon flows remain depressed 26 years after a simulated deep-sea mining disturbance
Abyssal plain faunal carbon flows remain depressed 26 years after a simulated deep-sea mining disturbance

Future deep-sea mining for polymetallic nodules in abyssal plains will negatively impact the benthic ecosystem, but it is largely unclear whether this ecosystem will be able to recover from mining disturbance and if so, to what extent and at what timescale. During the DISturbance and reCOLonization (DISCOL) experiment, a total of 22% of the seafloor within a 10.8 km2 circular area of the nodule-rich seafloor in the Peru Basin (SE Pacific) was ploughed in 1989 to bury nodules and mix the surface sediment. This area was revisited 0.1, 0.5, 3, 7, and 26 years after the disturbance to assess macrofauna, invertebrate megafauna and fish density and diversity. We used this unique abyssal faunal time series to develop carbon-based food web models for each point in the time series using the linear inverse modeling approach for sediments subjected to two disturbance levels: (1) outside the plough tracks; not directly disturbed by plough, but probably suffered from additional sedimentation; and (2) inside the plough tracks. Total faunal carbon stock was always higher outside plough tracks compared with inside plough tracks. After 26 years, the carbon stock inside the plough tracks was 54% of the carbon stock outside plough tracks. Deposit feeders were least affected by the disturbance, with modeled respiration, external predation, and excretion rates being reduced by only 2.6% inside plough tracks compared with outside plough tracks after 26 years. In contrast, the respiration rate of filter and suspension feeders was 79.5% lower in the plough tracks after 26 years. The total system throughput (T..), i.e., the total sum of modeled carbon flows in the food web, was higher throughout the time series outside plough tracks compared with the corresponding inside plough tracks area and was lowest inside plough tracks directly after the disturbance (8.63 × 10-3 ± 1.58 × 10-5 mmol Cm-2d-1). Even 26 years after the DISCOL disturbance, the discrepancy of T.. between outside and inside plough tracks was still 56%. Hence, C cycling within the faunal compartments of an abyssal plain ecosystem remains reduced 26 years after physical disturbance, and a longer period is required for the system to recover from such a small-scale sediment disturbance experiment.

1726-4170
4131-4145
Stratmann, Tanja
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Lins, Lidia
122f1e37-40c6-4ad7-bf28-3efb0af265e7
Purser, Autun
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Marcon, Yann
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Rodrigues, Clara F.
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Ravara, Ascensaõ
7ddbeac6-91b8-4d92-b28f-da6a46a6416e
Cunha, Marina R.
f97b25ca-1a36-47ae-a48b-43800a6a6d51
Simon-Lledó, Erik
80f67b3a-44e7-466e-aed5-06b0ba788ca2
Jones, Daniel O.B.
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Sweetman, Andrew K.
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Köser, Kevin
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Van Oevelen, Dick
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Stratmann, Tanja
3f96a898-312d-4dff-9ad0-171d22235ce9
Lins, Lidia
122f1e37-40c6-4ad7-bf28-3efb0af265e7
Purser, Autun
3d26da46-6049-4180-8bff-af6a2ec02ba7
Marcon, Yann
f4d58db2-fb88-415a-9abe-9047175ab71e
Rodrigues, Clara F.
4bb1de95-9ea9-4439-8e60-5be88fa825ca
Ravara, Ascensaõ
7ddbeac6-91b8-4d92-b28f-da6a46a6416e
Cunha, Marina R.
f97b25ca-1a36-47ae-a48b-43800a6a6d51
Simon-Lledó, Erik
80f67b3a-44e7-466e-aed5-06b0ba788ca2
Jones, Daniel O.B.
44fc07b3-5fb7-4bf5-9cec-78c78022613a
Sweetman, Andrew K.
5304cde0-8e83-4a68-8249-fa2d9e70d8bb
Köser, Kevin
c4db32b9-1cb5-4bfc-91fd-8ba4ab69f424
Van Oevelen, Dick
7a75c2d2-d59c-4f35-a3da-8ff31d375b61

Stratmann, Tanja, Lins, Lidia, Purser, Autun, Marcon, Yann, Rodrigues, Clara F., Ravara, Ascensaõ, Cunha, Marina R., Simon-Lledó, Erik, Jones, Daniel O.B., Sweetman, Andrew K., Köser, Kevin and Van Oevelen, Dick (2018) Abyssal plain faunal carbon flows remain depressed 26 years after a simulated deep-sea mining disturbance. Biogeosciences, 15 (13), 4131-4145. (doi:10.5194/bg-15-4131-2018).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Future deep-sea mining for polymetallic nodules in abyssal plains will negatively impact the benthic ecosystem, but it is largely unclear whether this ecosystem will be able to recover from mining disturbance and if so, to what extent and at what timescale. During the DISturbance and reCOLonization (DISCOL) experiment, a total of 22% of the seafloor within a 10.8 km2 circular area of the nodule-rich seafloor in the Peru Basin (SE Pacific) was ploughed in 1989 to bury nodules and mix the surface sediment. This area was revisited 0.1, 0.5, 3, 7, and 26 years after the disturbance to assess macrofauna, invertebrate megafauna and fish density and diversity. We used this unique abyssal faunal time series to develop carbon-based food web models for each point in the time series using the linear inverse modeling approach for sediments subjected to two disturbance levels: (1) outside the plough tracks; not directly disturbed by plough, but probably suffered from additional sedimentation; and (2) inside the plough tracks. Total faunal carbon stock was always higher outside plough tracks compared with inside plough tracks. After 26 years, the carbon stock inside the plough tracks was 54% of the carbon stock outside plough tracks. Deposit feeders were least affected by the disturbance, with modeled respiration, external predation, and excretion rates being reduced by only 2.6% inside plough tracks compared with outside plough tracks after 26 years. In contrast, the respiration rate of filter and suspension feeders was 79.5% lower in the plough tracks after 26 years. The total system throughput (T..), i.e., the total sum of modeled carbon flows in the food web, was higher throughout the time series outside plough tracks compared with the corresponding inside plough tracks area and was lowest inside plough tracks directly after the disturbance (8.63 × 10-3 ± 1.58 × 10-5 mmol Cm-2d-1). Even 26 years after the DISCOL disturbance, the discrepancy of T.. between outside and inside plough tracks was still 56%. Hence, C cycling within the faunal compartments of an abyssal plain ecosystem remains reduced 26 years after physical disturbance, and a longer period is required for the system to recover from such a small-scale sediment disturbance experiment.

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Accepted/In Press date: 27 June 2018
e-pub ahead of print date: 6 July 2018
Published date: 6 July 2018

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Local EPrints ID: 422613
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/422613
ISSN: 1726-4170
PURE UUID: 1871bdd2-7e7c-463d-8302-d135c4e6d0b7

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Date deposited: 26 Jul 2018 16:30
Last modified: 01 Jul 2022 16:43

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Contributors

Author: Tanja Stratmann
Author: Lidia Lins
Author: Autun Purser
Author: Yann Marcon
Author: Clara F. Rodrigues
Author: Ascensaõ Ravara
Author: Marina R. Cunha
Author: Erik Simon-Lledó
Author: Daniel O.B. Jones
Author: Andrew K. Sweetman
Author: Kevin Köser
Author: Dick Van Oevelen

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