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Spatial and temporal infaunal dynamics of the Blanes submarine canyon-slope system (NW Mediterranean); changes in nematode standing stocks, feeding types and gender-life stage ratios

AuthorsIngels, Jeroen; Vanreusel, Ann; Romano, Chiara ; Coenjaerts, J. ; Flexas, María del Mar; Zúñiga, Diana ; Martin, Daniel
Issue Date2013
CitationProgress in Oceanography 118: 159-174 (2013)
AbstractDespite recent advances in the knowledge of submarine canyons ecosystems, our understanding of the faunal patterns and processes in these environments is still marginal. In this study, meiobenthic nematode communities (from 300 m to 1600 m depth) obtained in November 2003 and May 2004 at eight stations inside and outside Blanes submarine canyon were analysed for nematode standing stocks (SSs), feeding types and gender-life stage distributions. Environmental data were obtained by sediment traps and current meters, attached to moorings (April 2003–May 2004), and sediments samples analysed for biogeochemistry and grain size (May 2004). In November 2003, nematode SSs decreased with increasing depth (367.2 individuals and 7.31 μg C per 10 cm2 at 388 m water depth to 7.7 individuals and 0.18 μg C per 10 cm2 at 1677 m water depth), showing a significant negative relation (abundance: R2 = 0.620, p = 0.020; biomass: R2 = 0.512, p = 0.046). This was not the case in May 2004 (283.5 individuals and 3.53 μg C per 10 cm2 at 388 m water depth to 490.8 individuals and 4.93 μg C per 10 cm2 at 1677 m water depth; abundance: R2 = 0.003, p = 0.902; biomass: R2 = 0.052, p = 0.587), suggesting a temporal effect that overrides the traditional decrease of SSs with increasing water depth. Both water depth and sampling time played a significant role in explaining nematode SSs, but with differences between stations. No overall differences were observed between canyon and open slope stations. Nematode standing stock (SS) patterns can be explained by taking into account the interplay of phytodetrital input and disturbance events, with station differences such as topography playing an important role. Individual nematode size decreased from November 2003 to May 2004 and was explained by a food-induced genera shift and/or a food-induced transition from a ‘latent’ to a ‘reproductive’ nematode community. Our results suggest that size patterns in nematode communities are not solely governed by trophic conditions over longer periods of time in relatively food-rich environments such as canyons. We hypothesize that food pulses in a dynamic and topographical heterogeneous environment such as canyons regulate nematode size distributions, rather than long-term food availability. Feeding type distributions in the Blanes Canyon did not clearly resemble those from other canyon systems, apart from the spring assemblage at one station in the head of the canyon.
Description16 páginas, 8 figuras, 5 tablas
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.procean.2013.07.021
Appears in Collections:(IIM) Artículos
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