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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 508:177-185 (2014)  -  DOI:

β-diversity of deep-sea holothurians and asteroids along a bathymetric gradient (NE Atlantic)

Martine C. Wagstaff1,*, Kerry L. Howell2, Brian J. Bett3, David S. M. Billett3, Solange Brault1, Carol T. Stuart1, Michael A. Rex1

1Department of Biology, University of Massachusetts, 100 Morrissey Blvd, Boston, MA 02125
2University of Plymouth, Drake Circus, Plymouth PL4 8AA, UK
3National Oceanography Centre, Southampton SO14 3ZH, UK
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Measuring and understanding patterns of β-diversity remain major challenges in community ecology. Recently, β-diversity has been shown to consist of 2 distinct components: (1) spatial turnover and (2) species loss leading to nestedness. Both components structure deep-sea macrofaunal assemblages but vary in importance among taxa and ocean basins and with energy availability. Here, we present the first evidence for turnover and nestedness along a bathymetric gradient in 2 major megafaunal taxa, holothurians and asteroids. Turnover is the dominant component of β-diversity throughout bathyal and abyssal zones in both taxa, despite major differences in β-diversity and trophic composition. High spatial turnover suggests a role for evolutionary adaptation to environmental circumstances within depth bands. This pattern differs fundamentally from those in some macrofaunal groups in low-energy environments where abyssal nestedness is high and diversity low, with diversity maintained partly by source-sink dynamics.

KEY WORDS: Beta diversity · Nestedness · Turnover · Source-sink dynamics · Deep sea · Echinoderms · Asteroids · Holothurians

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Cite this article as: Wagstaff MC, Howell KL, Bett BJ, Billett DSM, Brault S, Stuart CT, Rex MA (2014) β-diversity of deep-sea holothurians and asteroids along a bathymetric gradient (NE Atlantic). Mar Ecol Prog Ser 508:177-185.

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