Pteropods are important organisms in highlatitude ecosystems, and they are expected to severely suffer from climate change in the near future. In this study, sedimentation patterns of two pteropod species, the polar Limacina helicina and the subarctic boreal L. retroversa, are presented. Time series data received by moored sediment traps at the Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) Observatory HAUSGARTEN in eastern Fram Strait were analyzed during the years 2008 to 2012. Results were derived from four different deployment depths (200, 1,250, 2,400, and 2,550 m) at two different sites (79°N 04'200E; 79°430N 04'300E). A species-specific sedimentation pattern was present at all depths and at both sites showing maximal flux rates during September/October for L. helicina and in November/December for L. retroversa. The polar L. helicina was outnumbered by L. retroversa (55–99 %) at both positions and at all depths supporting the recently observed trend toward the dominance of the subarctic boreal species. The largest decrease in pteropod abundance occurred within the mesopelagic zone (*200–1,250 m), indicating loss via microbial degradation and grazing. Pteropod carbonate (aragonite) amounted up to *75 % of the total carbonate flux at 200 m and 2–13 % of the aragonite found in the shallow traps arrived at the deep sediment traps (*160 m above the seafloor), revealing the significance of pteropods in carbonate export at Fram Strait. Our results emphasize the relevance and the need for continuation of long-term studies to detect and trace changes in pteropod abundances and community composition and thus in the vertical transport of aragonite.
AWI Organizations > Biosciences > Joint Research Group: Deep Sea Ecology and Technology