Temporal patterns among meiofauna and macrofauna taxa related to changes in sediment geochemistry at an abyssal NE Atlantic site

Galeron, J.; Sibuet, M.; Vanreusel, A.; MacKenzie, K.; Gooday, A.J.; Dinet, A.; Wolff, G.A.. 2001 Temporal patterns among meiofauna and macrofauna taxa related to changes in sediment geochemistry at an abyssal NE Atlantic site. Progress in Oceanography, 50 (1/4). 303-324.

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Two major size classes of the sediment community, meiofauna and macrofauna, and four classes of lipid compounds, fatty acids, alkanes, alcohols and sterols, were investigated using multicorer and USNEL boxcorer samples, collected during six cruises over a two year period (September 1996 to September–October 1998), at the Porcupine Abyssal Plain (~ 48° 50′N 16° 30′W, 4850 m depth) within the framework of the MAST 3 BENGAL project. This site was known to be subject to seasonality in the input of organic matter to the seafloor. Results are given for each faunal size class in terms of taxonomic structure at the level of phylum, class or order, depending on the taxon, and for the dominant faunal components in terms of density and vertical distribution. For each lipid compound class, results are given in concentration and vertical distribution. The taxonomic structure of each size class did not change within the study period. Total meiofaunal and macrofaunal densities were particularly high, probably reflecting the high quantity and quality of organic matter inputs to the site. The dominant components of the two size classes presented different temporal patterns in their responses to changes in their environment. Populations of meiofaunal species, a foraminiferan and an opheliid polychaete, which inhabit the surface or sub-surface of sediment and feed on phytodetritus, responded with a rapid increase in abundance to a pulse of organic input in summer 1996. The macrofaunal polychaetes showed a lagged response to the same event by slowly increasing in density. Other components of the sediment community, that can live deeper in the sediment, moved down the sediment column, in response to 1) the impoverishment and bioturbation of the surface layer, and 2) the downward mixing of organic matter in the sediment by larger organisms. In this study, different temporal patterns were demonstrated for the first time in different size classes of the sediment community, and in the biological and environmental parameters that were studied simultaneously.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 0079-6611
Date made live: 24 Aug 2004 +0 (UTC)

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