Hadal fauna of the South Sandwich Trench, Southern Ocean: Baited camera survey from the Five Deeps Expedition.

Jamieson, Alan J.; Stewart, Heather A.; Weston, Johanna N.J.; Bongiovanni, Cassandra. 2021 Hadal fauna of the South Sandwich Trench, Southern Ocean: Baited camera survey from the Five Deeps Expedition. Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography, 194, 104987.

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The South Sandwich Trench is a 965 km long arcuate subduction trench spanning the South Atlantic and Southern oceans, isolated from most other hadal (areas where water depths exceed 6000 m) environments by thousands of kilometres. This feature represents the coldest known hadal ecosystem with ambient sub-zero temperatures recorded from bathyal depths to over 7000 m water depth. Very little research has been carried out into the hadal fauna of this trench since the Russian expeditions of the 1960s and 70s. Here, we report the first visual assessment of hadal fauna from the South Sandwich Trench from a series of seven baited camera and trap deployments between 6044 m and the deepest point at 8265 m water depth, a location called Meteor Deep. Three species of hadal fish (Liparidae), with very low population densities were observed at depths shallower than expected, likely due to the piezo-thermal effect decreasing their depth range. Four species of scavenging amphipods were recovered, extending the known distribution of Eurythenes andhakarae, Hirondellea dubia, and Bathycallisoma schellenbergi to the South Sandwich Trench. Large densities of brittle stars (Ophiuroidea) were seen in the shallower hadal depths, while dense aggregations of holothurians (Elpididae) were observed within trench-fill basins located along the deep trench axis coincident with a visible surficial layer of surface derived detritus. In addition, gastropods, sponges, and stalked crinoids were observed. Importantly, this study highlights the endemic community present at hadal depth within this somewhat unique high pressure-low temperature environment.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 09670645
Date made live: 21 Dec 2021 15:46 +0 (UTC)

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