Quantitative and semi-quantitative samples of phyto- and zoobenthic organisms were collected by SCUBA diving at five stations along a depth transect from 0.5-16 m on the shallow hard bottoms off Terra Nova Bay, Ross Sea, Antarctica. The benthic associations were dominated by two macroalgal species (Iridaea cordata and Phyllophora antarctica) and by few animal taxa (mainly polychaetes, molluscs and peracarid crustaceans). Distribution at the community and species levels revealed a well-defined zonation pattern as a function of depth, governed mainly by sea ice scouring and melting. Zonation of vagile fauna was also affected by the effects of covering and architecture of the two dominant macroalgae. Species richness and diversity were higher in the Phyllophora-associated community, where habitat complexity and sheltering were higher. The highest faunal abundance (over 82 000 ind.m(-2)) and biomass (macroalgae and fauna wet weight 2392 g m(-2)) were recorded at 2 m depth in association with the Iridaea covering, where the harsher environmental conditions select a few taxa. The biomass values, even if underestimates of the whole community standing crop, are among the highest recorded in shallow austral biotopes. An autoecological and demographic analysis of the most abundant animal species revealed for some species (e.g. Laevilitorina antarctica and Paramoera walkeri) a quite complex population structure with up to three size classes, including juveniles. In some species, the cohort of juveniles showed a well defined depth preference probably related to sheltering by the macroalgae. As a whole, the species analyzed showed various and contrasting reproductive strategies, despite the fact that the environmental conditions along the transect were relatively similar and quite selective.

Benthic associations of the shallow hard bottoms off Terra Nova Bay, Ross Sea: zonation, biomass and population structure

Russo G. F.;
1994-01-01

Abstract

Quantitative and semi-quantitative samples of phyto- and zoobenthic organisms were collected by SCUBA diving at five stations along a depth transect from 0.5-16 m on the shallow hard bottoms off Terra Nova Bay, Ross Sea, Antarctica. The benthic associations were dominated by two macroalgal species (Iridaea cordata and Phyllophora antarctica) and by few animal taxa (mainly polychaetes, molluscs and peracarid crustaceans). Distribution at the community and species levels revealed a well-defined zonation pattern as a function of depth, governed mainly by sea ice scouring and melting. Zonation of vagile fauna was also affected by the effects of covering and architecture of the two dominant macroalgae. Species richness and diversity were higher in the Phyllophora-associated community, where habitat complexity and sheltering were higher. The highest faunal abundance (over 82 000 ind.m(-2)) and biomass (macroalgae and fauna wet weight 2392 g m(-2)) were recorded at 2 m depth in association with the Iridaea covering, where the harsher environmental conditions select a few taxa. The biomass values, even if underestimates of the whole community standing crop, are among the highest recorded in shallow austral biotopes. An autoecological and demographic analysis of the most abundant animal species revealed for some species (e.g. Laevilitorina antarctica and Paramoera walkeri) a quite complex population structure with up to three size classes, including juveniles. In some species, the cohort of juveniles showed a well defined depth preference probably related to sheltering by the macroalgae. As a whole, the species analyzed showed various and contrasting reproductive strategies, despite the fact that the environmental conditions along the transect were relatively similar and quite selective.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11367/79494
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