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Novel benthic foraminifera are abundant and diverse in an area of the abyssal equatorial Pacific licensed for polymetallic nodule exploration

Goineau, Aurélie; Gooday, Andrew J.. 2017 Novel benthic foraminifera are abundant and diverse in an area of the abyssal equatorial Pacific licensed for polymetallic nodule exploration. Scientific Reports, 7. 45288. 10.1038/srep45288

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Abstract/Summary

The benthic biota of the Clarion–Clipperton Zone (CCZ, abyssal eastern equatorial Pacific) is the focus of a major research effort linked to possible future mining of polymetallic nodules. Within the framework of ABYSSLINE, a biological baseline study conducted on behalf of Seabed Resources Development Ltd. in the UK-1 exploration contract area (eastern CCZ, ~4,080 m water depth), we analysed foraminifera (testate protists), including ‘live’ (Rose Bengal stained) and dead tests, in 5 cores (0–1 cm layer, >150-μm fraction) recovered during separate megacorer deployments inside a 30 by 30 km seafloor area. In both categories (live and dead) we distinguished between complete and fragmented specimens. The outstanding feature of these assemblages is the overwhelming predominance of monothalamids, a group often ignored in foraminiferal studies. These single-chambered foraminifera, which include agglutinated tubes, spheres and komokiaceans, represented 79% of 3,607 complete tests, 98% of 1,798 fragments and 76% of the 416 morphospecies (live and dead combined) in our samples. Only 3.1% of monothalamid species and 9.8% of all species in the UK-1 assemblages are scientifically described and many are rare (29% singletons). Our results emphasise how little is known about foraminifera in abyssal areas that may experience major impacts from future mining activities.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1038/srep45288
ISSN: 2045-2322
Date made live: 28 Apr 2017 13:04 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/516947

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