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Bathyal benthic fauna of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge between the Azores and the Reykjanes Ridge

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 November 2009

Andrey V. Gebruk*
Affiliation:
P.P. Shirshov Institute of Oceanology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Nakhimovsky Prospect, 36, Moscow, 117997, Russia
Nataliya E. Budaeva
Affiliation:
P.P. Shirshov Institute of Oceanology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Nakhimovsky Prospect, 36, Moscow, 117997, Russia
Nicola J. King
Affiliation:
Oceanlab, University of Aberdeen, Main Street, Newburgh, ELLON, AB41 6AA Scotland, UK
*
Correspondence should be addressed to: A.V. Gebruk, Institute of Oceanology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Nakhimovsky Prospect, 36, Moscow, 117997, Russia email: agebruk@ocean.ru.

Abstract

The composition, taxonomic structure and distribution patterns of bathyal benthic fauna of the northern Mid-Atlantic Ridge between the Azores and the southern tip of the Reykjanes Ridge were studied from specimens collected on the ‘G.O. Sars MAR–ECO’ expedition in July 2004. Material was obtained from 16 Campelen 1800 trawls taken north of the Azores (42°N) and in two areas around the Charlie-Gibbs Fracture Zone (CGFZ) (51°N and 53°N) at depths 1237–3527 m. A total of 192 species were recorded. Overall the MAR–ECO benthic fauna was dominated by echinoderms (49.5% of the total species sampled), sponges (18.2%) and anthozoans (16.7%). Between-station species similarity was analysed using non-metric multidimensional scaling. Our analysis revealed differences between stations from the CGFZ and the Azorean regions. Stations from the Azores formed one cluster whereas stations from the CGFZ separated into two groups related to depth: stations from depths 1263 m to 1916 m and those from 2350 m to 3512 m. The taxonomic structure of the bathyal fauna was also different in the Azores than in the CGFZ areas. At the CGFZ, taxa with the highest percentage of species present were different above and below the 2000 m bathymetric contour, in contrast close to the Azores taxa with the highest percentage of species were the same shallower and deeper than 2000 m. Our results point at turnover in benthic bathyal fauna between the Charlie-Gibbs Fracture Zone and the Azores, which could be related to the presence of the Sub-Polar Front.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 2009

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References

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