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Population structure of Abyssorchomene abyssorum () (Amphipoda: Lysianassoidea), a scavenging amphipod from the Mid-Atlantic Ridge in the vicinity of the Charlie-Gibbs Fracture Zone

Duffy, Grant A.; Horton, Tammy; Sheader, Martin; Thurston, Michael H.. 2013 Population structure of Abyssorchomene abyssorum () (Amphipoda: Lysianassoidea), a scavenging amphipod from the Mid-Atlantic Ridge in the vicinity of the Charlie-Gibbs Fracture Zone. Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography, 98. 360-369. 10.1016/j.dsr2.2013.02.004

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Abstract/Summary

This study focussed on the common and ubiquitous scavenging amphipod Abyssorchomene abyssorum collected from a section of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge with one pair of sampling areas at 49°N and the other at 54°N, north and south of the Charlie Gibbs Fracture Zone (CGFZ) and east and west of the ridge, at a water depth of 2500 m. Baited-trap samples of necrophagous amphipods were collected during three research expeditions on the RRS James Cook in 2007, 2009, and 2010, allowing for direct comparisons to be made amongst populations of A. abyssorum at the four sample areas. Random subsamples of 200 individuals from nine trap samples were sexed, dissected, and measured. Males, females, and juveniles were found in all samples but no ovigerous females were identified. The finding of sexually mature mid-sized females, variability of oocyte size with body size, and presence of mature females with ‘empty’ ovaries, suggest that A. abyssorum is capable of having multiple broods in a lifetime. This reproductive strategy is beneficial to a scavenging organism living under a variable and unpredictable nutrient regime, allowing for a rapid reproductive response to advantageous conditions. Females north and south of the CGFZ fall into distinct cohorts with different distributional parameters. The total body lengths of female cohorts south of the CGFZ were consistently larger than those in the north. This is likely due to increased nutrient availability at the southern sampling areas. Males were significantly smaller than females and possessed longer, more articulate antennae. Longer antennae are thought to facilitate mate-searching by males. Estimates of the maximum brood size ranged from 36–78 offspring with actual brood size expected to be at the lower end of this scale. This places the estimated brood size of A. abyssorum in a similar range to that of other scavenging amphipods of comparable size. The juvenile:non-juvenile ratio differed north and south of the CGFZ with significantly more juveniles in the north. Possible reasons for this difference are discussed.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1016/j.dsr2.2013.02.004
ISSN: 09670645
Additional Keywords: Amphipoda; Mid-Atlantic Ridge; Population ecology; Scavengers; Bathyal
Date made live: 08 Jan 2014 13:40 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/504443

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