The richest marine areas in the Arctic occur at the edge of the ice where the interaction of water currents and ice creates ideal conditions for high productivity. 9 Arctic deep-sea stations (between 1000-5500 m depth) along this Ice Margin have been intensively sampled since the year 2000 by the Alfred-Wegener Institute with Polarstern and will be sampled for another 6 years. In this study meiofauna samples of the first five will be analyzed with emphasis on nematode and copepod communities which will be identified up to species level. Density, biomass and productivity, diversity (α-,β- and γ-diversity) will be assessed. Obtained data will be linked to biological and physical environmental variables in order to link climatic oscillations with changes in these communities. Results will be put in a conceptual model in order to predict changes in the meiobenthos community due to global warming.Preliminary results show high meiofauna densities in comparison to other deep-sea regions. Densities decrease along the bathymetrical gradient but at 2000 m depth high nematode and copepod abundances are found. Interannual differences in pattern along the depth gradient might be linked to differences in environmental variables. Nematode densities decrease with depth within the sediment but deeper sediment layers incorporate bigger, more slender nematodes. The different depth slices within the sediment incorporate distinct nematode communities.
AWI Organizations > Biosciences > Marine Animal Ecology
Helmholtz Research Programs > MARCOPOLI (2004-2008) > POL7-From permafrost to deep sea in the Arctic