Biomass size-spectra of macrobenthic communities in the oxygen minimum zone off Chile.

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Estimates of macrofaunal secondary production and normalized biomass size-spectra (NBSS) were constructed for macrobenthic communities associated with the oxygen minimum zone (OMZ) in four areas of the continental margin off Chile. The presence of low oxygen conditions in the Humboldt Current System (HCS) off Chile was shown to have important effects on the size structure and secondary production of the benthic communities living in this ecosystem. The distribution of normalized biomass by size was linear (log2log2 scale) at all stations. The slope of the NBSS ranged from -0.481 to-0.908. There were significant differences between the slopes of the NBS-spectra from the stations located in the OMZ (slope = - 0.837) and those located outside the OMZ(slope = - 0.463) (p < 0.05). The results of this study suggest that low oxygen conditions (< 0.5 ml L-1) appear to influence biomass size-spectra, because small organisms are better able to satisfy their metabolic demands. The annual secondary production washigher off central Chile (6.8 g C m -2 y-1) than off northern Chile (2.02 g C m-2 y-1) and off southern Chile (0.83 g C m-2 y-1). A comparison with other studies suggests that secondary production in terms of carbon equivalents was higher than in other upwellingregions.

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DOI 10.1016/j.ecss.2004.08.020

Cite as
Quiroga, E. , Quinones, R. , Palma, M. , Sellanes, J. , Gallardo, V. A. , Gerdes, D. and Rowe, G. (2005): Biomass size-spectra of macrobenthic communities in the oxygen minimum zone off Chile. , Estuarine coastal and shelf science, 62 , pp. 217-231 . doi: 10.1016/j.ecss.2004.08.020

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