MEPS 422:193-200 (2011)  -  doi:10.3354/meps08924

Local-scale faunal turnover on the deep Pacific seafloor

Craig R. McClain1,*, Jeffrey C. Nekola2, Linda Kuhnz3, James P. Barry3

1National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, 2024 W. Main Street, Durham, North Carolina 27705, USA
2University of New Mexico, Department of Biology, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87131, USA
3Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, 7700 Sandholdt Rd., Moss Landing, Califorina 95039 USA

ABSTRACT: The high biodiversity of the deep-sea floor is often attributed to high local coexistence of species achieved through microhabitat variation. Grassle & Sanders (1973; Deep-Sea Res 34:313–341) proposed that deep-sea species were differentially adapted to multiple and small-scale successional patches that varied across the landscape and through time. However, results from both manipulative experiments and precision sampling to test the patch-mosaic model of Grassle & Sanders (1973) have varied, leading some authors to suggest that patch dynamics may be unimportant in explaining deep-sea biodiversity. We utilized a remotely operated vehicle and a rigid spatial sampling protocol to document macrofaunal turnover and individual species spatial dispersion at a 3203 m deep site in the Pacific Ocean over scales of 1 to 350 m. We found high variability in assemblage composition and, in contrast to most previous work, we also found that intraspecific species aggregation was common. These findings suggest that patch dynamics and microhabitat variation are important in promoting local species coexistence in the deep-sea benthos.

KEY WORDS: Beta-diversity · Distance decay · Patch dynamics · Biodiversity · Patch mosaic · Turnover · Habitat heterogeneity

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Cite this article as: McClain CR, Nekola JC, Kuhnz L, Barry JP (2011) Local-scale faunal turnover on the deep Pacific seafloor. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 422:193-200

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