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Long-term change in the megabenthos of the Porcupine Abyssal Plain (NE Atlantic)

Long-term change in the megabenthos of the Porcupine Abyssal Plain (NE Atlantic)
Long-term change in the megabenthos of the Porcupine Abyssal Plain (NE Atlantic)
A radical change in the abundance of invertebrate megafauna on the Porcupine Abyssal Plain is reported over a period of 10 years (1989–1999). Actiniarians, annelids, pycnogonids, tunicates, ophiuroids and holothurians increased significantly in abundance. However, there was no significant change in wet weight biomass. Two holothurian species, Amperima rosea and Ellipinion molle, increased in abundance by more than two orders of magnitude. Samples from the Porcupine Abyssal Plain over a longer period (1977–1999) show that prior to 1996 these holothurian species were always a minor component of the megafauna. From 1996 to 1999 A. rosea was abundant over a wide area of the Porcupine Abyssal Plain indicating that the phenomenon was not a localised event. Several dominant holothurian species show a distinct trend in decreasing body size over the study period. The changes in megafauna abundance may be related to environmental forcing (food supply) rather than to localised stochastic population variations. Inter-annual variability and long-term trends in organic matter supply to the seabed may be responsible for the observed changes in abundance, species dominance and size distributions.
megabenthos, northeast atlantic ocean, sampling, holothurians, abundance, biology
0079-6611
325-348
Billett, D.S.M.
aab439e2-c839-4cd2-815c-3d401e0468db
Bett, B.J.
61342990-13be-45ae-9f5c-9540114335d9
Rice, A.L.
5c2a07c3-0b67-4046-9689-9583a76d422b
Thurston, M.H.
2fba95f2-0502-4ab7-bed7-d716ae798307
Galéron, J.
30e26ad1-c2b3-4a03-8bb5-80eba50fd210
Sibuet, M.
bc54a19e-c793-4ab6-a824-cc55e10f42d8
Wolff, G.A.
3a42c086-8356-449b-9d40-9b16758733c2
Billett, D.S.M.
aab439e2-c839-4cd2-815c-3d401e0468db
Bett, B.J.
61342990-13be-45ae-9f5c-9540114335d9
Rice, A.L.
5c2a07c3-0b67-4046-9689-9583a76d422b
Thurston, M.H.
2fba95f2-0502-4ab7-bed7-d716ae798307
Galéron, J.
30e26ad1-c2b3-4a03-8bb5-80eba50fd210
Sibuet, M.
bc54a19e-c793-4ab6-a824-cc55e10f42d8
Wolff, G.A.
3a42c086-8356-449b-9d40-9b16758733c2

Billett, D.S.M., Bett, B.J., Rice, A.L., Thurston, M.H., Galéron, J., Sibuet, M. and Wolff, G.A. (2001) Long-term change in the megabenthos of the Porcupine Abyssal Plain (NE Atlantic). Progress in Oceanography, 50 (1/4), 325-348. (doi:10.1016/S0079-6611(01)00060-X).

Record type: Article

Abstract

A radical change in the abundance of invertebrate megafauna on the Porcupine Abyssal Plain is reported over a period of 10 years (1989–1999). Actiniarians, annelids, pycnogonids, tunicates, ophiuroids and holothurians increased significantly in abundance. However, there was no significant change in wet weight biomass. Two holothurian species, Amperima rosea and Ellipinion molle, increased in abundance by more than two orders of magnitude. Samples from the Porcupine Abyssal Plain over a longer period (1977–1999) show that prior to 1996 these holothurian species were always a minor component of the megafauna. From 1996 to 1999 A. rosea was abundant over a wide area of the Porcupine Abyssal Plain indicating that the phenomenon was not a localised event. Several dominant holothurian species show a distinct trend in decreasing body size over the study period. The changes in megafauna abundance may be related to environmental forcing (food supply) rather than to localised stochastic population variations. Inter-annual variability and long-term trends in organic matter supply to the seabed may be responsible for the observed changes in abundance, species dominance and size distributions.

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More information

Published date: 2001
Keywords: megabenthos, northeast atlantic ocean, sampling, holothurians, abundance, biology

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 7917
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/7917
ISSN: 0079-6611
PURE UUID: 5dcd6f24-4db4-446f-9a50-cdd5b76d4e42

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Date deposited: 04 Aug 2004
Last modified: 17 Jul 2017 17:13

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Contributors

Author: D.S.M. Billett
Author: B.J. Bett
Author: A.L. Rice
Author: M.H. Thurston
Author: J. Galéron
Author: M. Sibuet
Author: G.A. Wolff

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