Habitat types and megabenthos composition from three sponge-dominated high-Arctic seamounts

Stratmann, Tanja; Simon-Lledó, Erik ORCID:; Morganti, Teresa Maria; de Kluijver, Anna; Vedenin, Andrey; Purser, Autun. 2022 Habitat types and megabenthos composition from three sponge-dominated high-Arctic seamounts. Scientific Reports, 12 (1).

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Seamounts are isolated underwater mountains stretching > 1000 m above the seafloor. They are identified as biodiversity hotspots of marine life, and host benthic assemblages that may vary on regional (among seamounts) and local (within seamounts) scales. Here, we collected seafloor imagery of three seamounts at the Langseth Ridge in the central Arctic Ocean to assess habitats and megabenthos community composition at the Central Mount (CM), the Karasik Seamount (KS), and the Northern Mount (NM). The majority of seafloor across these seamounts comprised bare rock, covered with a mixed layer of sponge spicule mats intermixed with detrital debris composed of polychaete tubes, and sand, gravel, and/or rocks. The megabenthos assemblages consisted of in total 15 invertebrate epibenthos taxa and 4 fish taxa, contributing to mean megabenthos densities of 55,745 ind. ha−1 at CM, 110,442 ind. ha−1 at KS, and 65,849 ind. ha−1 at NM. The faunal assemblages at all three seamounts were dominated by habitat-forming Tetractinellida sponges that contributed between 66% (KS) and 85% (CM) to all megabenthos. Interestingly, taxa richness did not differ at regional and local scale, whereas the megabenthos community composition did. Abiotic and biogenic factors shaping distinct habitat types played a major role in structuring of benthic communities in high-Arctic seamounts.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 2045-2322
Date made live: 13 Dec 2022 12:30 +0 (UTC)

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