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Deep-sea surface-dwelling enteropneusts from the Mid-Atlantic Ridge: Their ecology, distribution and mode of life

Lookup NU author(s): Dr William Reid, Dr Benjamin Wigham


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The ecology, distribution and mode of life of three species of surface-dwelling enteropneusts is described, based on ROV observations and samples on the flanks of the Northern Mid-Atlantic Ridge (MAR) at comparative stations north and south of the Sub-Polar Front. Tergivelum cinnabarinum was most abundant in the north (mean=4.56 ind. 1000 m−2±3.50 s.d.) and occurred at low densities in the south (mean=1.19±1.68 s.d.). Yoda purpurata was dominant in the south (mean=17.00 ind. 1000 m−2±12.32 s.d.) but only one individual was found in the north. The within-station distribution of all enteropneust species encountered was generally random. T. cinnabarinum was larger (mean total length 142 mm) than Y. purpurata (mean total length 70 mm). Size distributions suggested smaller individuals of both species on the western side of the MAR. Size and density of enteropneusts were generally higher in areas with higher carbon flux to the seafloor. A single individual of Allapasus isidis was observed drifting and settling to the seafloor at the SW site. Traces on the seafloor made by T. cinnabarinum covered a much higher percentage of the total seabed area surveyed (mean=0.323%±0.155 s.d.) than those of Y. purpurata (mean=0.034%±0.037 s.d.). Stable isotope values for T. cinnabarinum suggested that it was a typical surficial deposit feeder. Enteropneusts appear to be abundant and an important bioturbator on the sedimented seafloor of the MAR at around 2500 m depth.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Jones DOB, Alt CHS, Priede IG, Reid WDK, Wigham BD, Billett DSM, Gebruk AV, Rogacheva A, Gooday AJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography

Year: 2013

Volume: 98

Issue: B

Pages: 374-387

Print publication date: 15/12/2013

ISSN (print): 0967-0645

ISSN (electronic): 1879-0100

Publisher: Pergamon


DOI: 10.1016/j.dsr2.2013.05.009


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Funder referenceFunder name
Ecosystems of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge at the Sub-Polar Front and Charlie-Gibbs Fracture Zone (ECOMAR) project
UK Natural Environment Research Council