MEPS 602:15-29 (2018)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps12654

Temporal trends in the biomass of three epibenthic invertebrates from the deep-sea observatory HAUSGARTEN (Fram Strait, Arctic Ocean)

J. Taylor, B. Staufenbiel, T. Soltwedel, M. Bergmann*

Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung, Am Handelshafen 12, 27570 Bremerhaven, Germany
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: In a bid to further understand processes that influence deep-sea epibenthic megafauna, which fulfil critical roles in the global carbon cycle, we present data from the Arctic Long-Term Ecological Research observatory HAUSGARTEN, in the Fram Strait, showing significant temporal changes in total biomass of 3 key organisms (Kolga hyalina, Elpidia heckeri and Mohnia spp.) at stations N3, HG-IV and S3 during repeated deployments over a time series spanning 2004-2015. Overall, all species investigated displayed a similar reproduction/recruitment cycle, with increasing mean mass per individual leading to decreases in abundance, and vice versa. However, there were 3 ‘events’ that deviated from this pattern. The first was a mass reproduction event of E. heckeri at HG-IV from 2012 onwards, likely due to an increased carrying capacity. The second event involved migration of K. hyalina from HG-IV between 2004-2007, with a return in 2011. This coincided with a shift in the composition of the particle flux at the station. The final event was a mass migration of K. hyalina to N3 between 2004 (0 ind. m-2) and 2007 (4.765 ± 0.084 ind. m-2). This event coincided with a 4-fold increase in phytodetrital food availability at the seafloor at N3. Our results highlight the importance of time-series studies to ascertain the key factors that influence epibenthic megafaunal communities. They also highlight the fact that more needs to be done in understanding the life history of these organisms, as this understanding is, so far, widely lacking.


KEY WORDS: Arctic · Biomass · Deep-sea · Megafauna · HAUSGARTEN · Image analysis · Time-series


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Cite this article as: Taylor J, Staufenbiel B, Soltwedel T, Bergmann M (2018) Temporal trends in the biomass of three epibenthic invertebrates from the deep-sea observatory HAUSGARTEN (Fram Strait, Arctic Ocean). Mar Ecol Prog Ser 602:15-29. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps12654

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