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Temporal changes in deep-sea sponge populations are correlated to changes in surface climate and food supply

Kahn, Amanda S.; Ruhl, Henry A.; Smith, Kenneth L.. 2012 Temporal changes in deep-sea sponge populations are correlated to changes in surface climate and food supply. Deep Sea Research Part I Oceanographic Research Papers, 70. 36-41. 10.1016/j.dsr.2012.08.001

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Abstract/Summary

Density and average size of two species of abyssal sponges were analyzed at Station M (∼4100 m depth) over an 18-year time-series (1989–2006) using camera sled transects. Both sponge taxa share a similar plate-like morphology despite being within different families, and both showed similar variations in density and average body size over time, suggesting that the same factors may control the demographics of both species. Peaks in significant cross correlations between increases in particulate organic carbon flux and corresponding increases in sponge density occurred with a time lag of 13 months. Sponge density also fluctuated with changes in two climate indices: the NOI with a time lag of 18 months and NPGO with a time lag of 15 months. The results support previous suggestions that increased particulate organic carbon flux may induce recruitment or regeneration in deep-sea sponges. It is unknown whether the appearance of young individuals results from recruitment, regeneration, or both, but the population responses to seasonal and inter-annual changes in food supply demonstrate that sponge populations are dynamic and are capable of responding to inter-annual changes despite being sessile and presumably slow-growing.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1016/j.dsr.2012.08.001
Programmes: NOC Programmes
ISSN: 09670637
Additional Keywords: Pelagic–benthic coupling; Porifera; Particulate organic carbon; NPGO; NOI; Hexactinellida
Date made live: 13 Dec 2012 10:17 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/446169

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