MEPS 236:129-135 (2002)  -  doi:10.3354/meps236129

Latitudinal diversity patterns of deep-sea marine nematodes and organic fluxes : a test from the central equatorial Pacific

P. John D. Lambshead1,*, Caroline J. Brown1,3, Timothy J. Ferrero1, Nicola J. Mitchell1, Craig R. Smith2, Lawrence E. Hawkins3, John Tietjen4

1Department of Zoology, The Natural History Museum, London SW7 5BD, United Kingdom
2Department of Oceanography, University of Hawaii at Mañoa, 1000 Pope Road, Honolulu, Hawaii 96822, USA
3School of Ocean and Earth Science, University of Southampton, Southampton Oceanography Centre, Waterfront Campus, European Way, Southampton SO14 3ZH, United Kingdom
4Division of Invertebrates, American Museum of Natural History, New York, New York 10024, USA

ABSTRACT: The discovery of an apparently positive latitudinal gradient in nematode species richness over a limited geographic area in the North Atlantic, leading to the hypothesis that it is associated with a positive latitudinal organic flux gradient, has created some debate. A test of this hypothesis is that the negative latitudinal organic flux gradient in the central equatorial Pacific should lead to an associated negative gradient in species richness. Here, we show that species richness in the central equatorial Pacific is positively associated with the organic flux predicted from the pattern reported for the North Atlantic. The patterns in nematode species richness differ from other deep-sea organisms; they seem to be entirely related to modern ecology and unaffected by historical events.

KEY WORDS: Pacific · Nematodes · Latitude · Species richness · Diversity · Organic flux · Clarion-Clipperton fracture zone

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