Benthic megafauna of the western Clarion-Clipperton Zone, Pacific Ocean

Bribiesca-Contreras, Guadalupe; Dahlgren, Thomas G.; Amon, Diva J.; Cairns, Stephen; Drennan, Regan; Durden, Jennifer M, ORCID:; Eléaume, Marc P.; Hosie, Andrew M.; Kremenetskaia, Antonina; McQuaid, Kirsty; O’Hara, Timothy D.; Rabone, Muriel; Simon-Lledó, Erik ORCID:; Smith, Craig R.; Watling, Les; Wiklund, Helena; Glover, Adrian G.. 2022 Benthic megafauna of the western Clarion-Clipperton Zone, Pacific Ocean. ZooKeys, 1113. 1-110.

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There is a growing interest in the exploitation of deep-sea mineral deposits, particularly on the abyssal seafloor of the central Pacific Clarion-Clipperton Zone (CCZ), which is rich in polymetallic nodules. In order to effectively manage potential exploitation activities, a thorough understanding of the biodiversity, community structure, species ranges, connectivity, and ecosystem functions across a range of scales is needed. The benthic megafauna plays an important role in the functioning of deep-sea ecosystems and represents an important component of the biodiversity. While megafaunal surveys using video and still images have provided insight into CCZ biodiversity, the collection of faunal samples is needed to confirm species identifications to accurately estimate species richness and species ranges, but faunal collections are very rarely carried out. Using a Remotely Operated Vehicle, 55 specimens of benthic megafauna were collected from seamounts and abyssal plains in three Areas of Particular Environmental Interest (APEI 1, APEI 4, and APEI 7) at 3100–5100 m depth in the western CCZ. Using both morphological and molecular evidence, 48 different morphotypes belonging to five phyla were found, only nine referrable to known species, and 39 species potentially new to science. This work highlights the need for detailed taxonomic studies incorporating genetic data, not only within the CCZ, but in other bathyal, abyssal, and hadal regions, as representative genetic reference libraries that could facilitate the generation of species inventories.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 1313-2989
Date made live: 22 Sep 2022 12:10 +0 (UTC)

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