Broad-scale factors influencing the biodiversity of coastal benthic communities of the Ross Sea

Primary tabs

Thrush, S., Dayton, P., Cattaneo-Vietti, R., Chiantore, M., Cummings, V., Andrew, N., … Schwarz, A. -M. (2006). Broad-scale factors influencing the biodiversity of coastal benthic communities of the Ross Sea. Deep-Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography, 53(8), 959-971. doi:10.1016/j.dsr2.2006.02.006
TitleBroad-scale factors influencing the biodiversity of coastal benthic communities of the Ross Sea
AuthorsS. Thrush, P. Dayton, R. Cattaneo-Vietti, M. Chiantore, V. Cummings, N. Andrew, I. Hawes, S. Kim, R. Kvitek, A. Schwarz
AbstractEarly ecological research in McMurdo Sound revealed local spatial gradients in community structure associated with variations in anchor ice disturbance, fast ice and snow cover, and the effects of predators. Research contrasting the east and west sides of McMurdo Sound has shown major differences in benthic communities, which have been attributed to oceanographic influences on the advection of water-column productivity and the frequency of fast ice break-out. Despite these regional and local differences, coastal benthic communities in McMurdo Sound show a high level of stability, and contain a variety of large and potentially very long-lived species. In Terra Nova Bay, about half way along the Victoria Land Coast of the western Ross Sea, the coastal benthic communities provide some insightful contrasts with those in McMurdo Sound. For example, the abundance and depth distribution of dominant species such as Sterechinus neumayeri and Adamussium colbecki are markedly different from McMurdo Sound. In both locations communities dominated by large sponges are most prolific in regions that are free from iceberg disturbance of the seabed. A recent assessment of northern Victoria Land coastal benthic communities, in conjunction with multibeam imagery of the seafloor, further highlights the importance of iceberg disturbance in structuring Antarctic benthic communities. A comparative synthesis of these coastal ecological studies enables us to generate hypotheses concerning the relative importance of different environmental drivers in structuring benthic communities. Overlain on the regular latitudinal shifts in physical factors such as light regime, are regional fluctuations that are controlled by atmospheric and oceanographic circulation patterns and coastal topography/bathymetry. Change in diversity along the western coast of the Ross Sea is predicted to be influenced by three main factors (1) ice disturbance (e.g., via anchor ice and advection of supercooled water or icebergs), (2) photosynthetically available radiation (affected by ice and snow cover and water clarity), (3) the locations of polynyas and advection of planktonic production and larvae. Interactions between these factors are expected to result in non-linear changes along the latitudinal gradient. While predictions generated from these hypotheses remain to be rigorously tested, they provide indications of how benthic communities may respond to changes in production, disturbance and the stability of coastal sea ice. © 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
JournalDeep-Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography
Start page959
End page971
SubjectsBiodiversity, Ecology, Environmental impact, Growth kinetics, Sea ice, Benthic communities, Ice dynamics, Latitudinal gradient, Ross Sea, Marine biology, benthos, coastal zone, community structure, ecological approach, ice field, predator, productivity, snow cover, spatial variation, water column, Antarctica, East Antarctica, McMurdo Sound, Southern Ocean, Terra Nova Bay, Adamussium colbecki, Sterechinus neumayeri
NoteCited By (since 1996):28, Invertebrates, CODEN: DSROE