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Deep-sea suprabenthos assemblages (Crustacea) off the Balearic Islands (western Mediterranean): Mesoscale variability in diversity and production

AuthorsCartes, Joan Enric ; Mamouridis, Valeria ; Fanelli, Emanuela
Western Mediterranean
Issue Date3-Apr-2011
CitationJournal of Sea Research 65(3): 340-354 (2011)
AbstractThe composition of suprabenthic crustacean assemblages, their diversity, production (P) and production/ biomass (P/B) ratios, were analyzed at species level along two transects situated to the north (N) and south (S) of Mallorca (Balearic Islands, western Mediterranean) at depths between 134 m and 760 m, based on a ca. bi-monthly sampling performed between August 2003 and June 2004. Differences with depth and season in assemblage composition and diversity were analyzed as a function of the contrasting environmental features (e.g. water mass dynamics) of the two areas. We identified 187 species (18 decapods, 5 euphausiids, 16 mysids, 76 gammaridean amphipods, 13 hyperiids, 1 caprellid, 21 isopods and 37 cumaceans). Substantial mesoscale variability in the deep-sea suprabenthic assemblages coupled with diversity trends between the N and S transects were found. Seasonality was the most important gradient influencing the dynamics of suprabenthos over the upper (350 m) and middle (650–750 m) slope in the N area. Conversely, the S area appeared to be more stable temporally with depth as the main gradient inducing assemblage differences. Different depth-related patterns were observed both for diversity and P/B. To the north diversity was very low at the shelf-break, increasing on the upper-slope (H′N3.00) and then decreasing again on the middle slope. To the south diversity increased smoothly downward, reaching the highest values on the middle-slope. Regarding productivity, P/B was highest at intermediate depths to the north (over ca. 450–500 m), while to the south highest P/Bs were found deeper (over ca. 600–650 m). The higher P/B at intermediate depths found along N are likely due to higher % of organic matter (OM) in sediments, a product of oceanographic frontal systems. In particular, P/B was higher along N among omnivores and detritus feeders (e.g. Andaniexis mimonectes, Lepechinella manco and combined cumaceans), coupled to enrichedOMin sediments, while along S mesoplanktonic carnivores (Rhachotropis spp.) had higher P/Bs. We conclude that on the north slope the influence of frontal systems and more active flow dynamics of different water masses (WIW and LIW) increases natural disturbance in the area, increasing productivity and diversity of suprabenthic peracarids in the Benthic Boundary Layer. Also, species showed a displacement of their average distributions (their Centres of Gravity, CoG) to shallower depths along N, which is another indicator of more favorable habitat conditions for suprabenthos in the 400–500 m range at N.
Description14 pages, 7 figures, 5 tables, 1 appendix
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.seares.2011.02.002
Appears in Collections:(ICM) Artículos
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