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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 428:119-134 (2011)  -  DOI:

Polychaete species diversity on the West Antarctic Peninsula deep continental shelf

L. Neal1, S. L. Mincks Hardy2, C. R. Smith3, A. G. Glover1,*

1Zoology Department, The Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD, UK
2School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, University of Alaska, PO Box 757220, Fairbanks, Alaska 99775, USA
3Department of Oceanography, University of Hawaii, 1000 Pope Road, Honolulu, Hawaii 96822, USA
*Corresponding author. Email:

ABSTRACT: We assessed macrofaunal polychaete species diversity on the West Antarctic Peninsula at mean depths of 500 to 600 m along a cross-shelf transect near Anvers Island, Antarctica. Fifteen megacore samples from 3 sites were analysed to species level, revealing 78 polychaete species of which several are new to science. Quantitative samples allowed an assessment of species abundances and the relative contribution of dominance to overall species diversity. The composition of the assemblages varied across the shelf: the 2 outermost stations on the transect were relatively similar but differed from the innermost station, which had higher diversity and major differences in species composition, possibly linked to changes in the sediment characteristics and degree of food availability. Species diversity, measured by rarefaction, evenness and species richness estimators, was similar to values reported at other bathyal settings and slightly higher than that reported from the Arctic shelf, but in general lower than that reported at temperate and tropical abyssal sites. Dominance was much higher at Antarctic deep-shelf sites in comparison to temperate bathyal and abyssal sites.

KEY WORDS:  Marine benthos · Southern Ocean · Biodiversity · Polychaeta · Annelida · Aurospio

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Cite this article as: Neal L, Mincks Hardy SL, Smith CR, Glover AG (2011) Polychaete species diversity on the West Antarctic Peninsula deep continental shelf. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 428:119-134.

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