Megabenthic ecology of the deep Faroe–Shetland channel: a photographic study

Jones, D.O.B. ORCID:; Bett, B.J. ORCID:; Tyler, P.A.. 2007 Megabenthic ecology of the deep Faroe–Shetland channel: a photographic study. Deep-Sea Research I, 54 (7). 1111-1128.

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The megabenthic ecology of the cold water (<0 °C) area of the Faroe–Shetland Channel was investigated using an off-bottom towed camera platform WASP (wide angle seabed photography). A series of 10 photographic transects, approximately evenly spaced along the channel axis, were studied. Photographic transects allowed quantitative benthic diversity data to be obtained from this understudied yet commercially important area for oil and gas exploration. The sedimentary characteristics of the seabed changed dramatically from a region of ice-rafted boulders and gravel in the southwest to fine sediments more typical of the deep sea to the northeast. Despite the relatively low species richness of the megabenthos, variation in faunal composition with depth was apparent. Two distinct “communities” were identified, one in the south of the channel and the other in the north. Epibenthic megafaunal communities in the south were dominated by suspension and filter feeders and in the north by deposit feeders. Diversity and standing stock of megabenthos decreased to the northeast of the channel. Lebensspuren number and areal cover increased northwards in the Channel. The increase in bioturbation and deposit feeder abundance was concurrent with an increase in fine sediment quantity.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 0967-0637
Additional Keywords: Megafauna; Abundance; Species diversity; Benthos; Photography; Towed camera platform; UK; Atlantic; Faroe–Shetland Channel; 60–64°N; 0–6°W
Date made live: 10 Sep 2007 +0 (UTC)

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