Inter-annual species-level variations in an abyssal polychaete assemblage (Sta. M, NE Pacific, 4000 m)

Laguionie-Marchais, Claire; Paterson, Gordon L.J.; Bett, Brian J. ORCID:; Smith, Kenneth L.; Ruhl, Henry A.. 2016 Inter-annual species-level variations in an abyssal polychaete assemblage (Sta. M, NE Pacific, 4000 m). Progress in Oceanography, 140. 43-53.

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© 2015 Elsevier B.V. This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Progress in Oceanography. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was/will be published in Progress in Oceanography (doi:10.1016/j.pocean.2015.10.006)
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Understanding the dynamics of abyssal community structure and function has become increasingly important as deep-sea resource exploitation and climate change pressures are expected to ramp up. This time-series study investigates macrofaunal polychaete dynamics at a station in the North East Pacific (Sta. M; 35˚ N 123˚ W, 4000 m, 1991-2011). Infaunal polychaete species were identified and their proxy biomass and proxy energy use rate estimated. The assemblage comprised 167 species, having a composition consistent with other abyssal areas globally. Significant changes in univariate and multivariate parameters (rank abundance distribution, Simpson’s diversity index, and species and functional group composition) were detected across 1991-2011. However, no change in biomass or energy use rate was apparent through the time-series. The largest changes in the polychaete assemblage coincided with both an increase in sinking particulate organic carbon flux to the seafloor in 2007, and a 40 km relocation of the sampling location to a site 100 m shallower, preventing a conclusive assessment of which might drive the observed variation. Analyses prior to the change of sampling location showed that the polychaete assemblage composition dynamics were primary driven by food supply variation. Changes in several species were also lagged to changes in POC flux by 4 to 10 months. The polychaete fauna exhibited a significant positive relationship between total density and total energy use rate, suggesting population-level tracking of a common resource (e.g. POC flux food supply). Neither compensatory nor energetic zero-sum dynamics were detected among the polychaete assemblage, but the results suggest that the latter occur in the macrofaunal community as a whole. The results do indicate (a) potential control of species composition, and the density of individual key species, by food supply, when the time-series prior to the sampling location was analysed separately, and (b) generally sensitive detection of environmental change by species-level analysis of the abyssal polychaete assemblage.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 00796611
Additional Keywords: Deep sea; Polychaeta; Time-series; Ecology; Abyssal; Compensatory dynamics; Zero-sum dynamics
Date made live: 12 Nov 2015 12:01 +0 (UTC)

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