Consumption of large bathyal food fall, a six month study in the NE Atlantic

Kemp, Kirsty M.; Jamieson, Alan J.; Bagley, Philip M.; McGrath, Helen; Bailey, David M.; Collins, Martin A. ORCID:; Priede, Imants G.. 2006 Consumption of large bathyal food fall, a six month study in the NE Atlantic. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 310. 65-76.

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We deployed 2 porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) carcasses at bathyal depth (2555 to 2710 m) in the Porcupine Seabight, NE Atlantic for periods of 1 wk and 6 mo respectively. Consumption rates of 0.085 and 0.078 kg h–1 were similar to those observed at abyssal depths in the Atlantic, and 1 order of magnitude slower than at bathyal depth in the Pacific. A distinct succession of scavenging species was observed at both carcasses: the abyssal grenadier Coryphaenoides armatus and the cusk eel Spectrunculus grandis numerically dominated the initial phase of carcass consumption and, once the bulk of the soft tissue had been removed (by Day 15), were succeeded by the squat lobster Munidopsis crassa. The blue hake Antimora rostrata and amphipod numbers were unexpectedly low, and consumption was attributed largely to direct feeding by C. armatus. The interaction of a crustacean prey species (M. crassa) and cephalopod predator (Benthoctopus sp.) was observed for the first time, revealing that large food falls also attract secondary predators that do not utilise the food fall directly. The staying time of a single parasitised C. armatus (18 h) greatly exceeded previous estimates (≤8 h). This study describes the first large food fall to be monitored at high frequency over a 6 mo period, and the first observations of a large food fall at bathyal depth in the NE Atlantic. It enables direct comparison with similarly sized food falls at abyssal depth, much larger megacarrion falls, and similar studies differing in geographic location, in particular those carried out under Pacific whale migration corridors.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: BAS Programmes > Global Science in the Antarctic Context (2005-2009) > DISCOVERY 2010 - Integrating Southern Ocean Ecosystems into the Earth System
ISSN: 0171-8630
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Full text not available from this repository
Additional Keywords: Food fall, Time series, Scavenger, Deep-sea, Benthoctopus sp., Coryphaenoides armatus, Munidopsis crassa, Deep ocean benthic observatory
NORA Subject Terms: Zoology
Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 31 Aug 2007 11:21 +0 (UTC)

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