Composition and distribution of selected munnopsid genera (Crustacea, Isopoda, Asellota) in Icelandic waters

dario.fiorentino [ at ]


The Greenland–Scotland Ridge (GSR) is a major topographic feature, extending from Greenland to Scotland. It constrains the water exchange between the northernmost North Atlantic Ocean and the Greenland, Iceland and Norwegian Seas (GIN Seas) and thus forms a potential barrier for faunal exchange from the Arctic to the North Atlantic (and vice versa). Recently an increase in Atlantic water inflow has been observed, leading to changes in physical parameters (i.e. temperature and salinity), which may have an impact on the resident fauna. In this study, we analyzed the composition and distribution of six selected genera of the isopod family Munnopsidae (Crustacea) occurring north and south of the GSR. We examined 82 epibenthic sledge samples and 26 additional sub-samples taken in the course of the Benthic Invertebrates of Icelandic Waters (BIOICE) and Icelandic Marine Animals: Genetics and Ecology (IceAGE) projects, respectively, covering a total depth range from 103 to 2752 m depth. Overall, 58 of the evaluated stations originated in the area north of the GSR, while the remaining 50 samples were collected south of the ridge. In total, 10517 individuals could be assigned to 15 species, most belonging to the genus Eurycope Sars, 1864. Due to the presence of the GSR as well as differences in the environment, we expected significant dissimilarities in faunal composition between the two study areas. However, most species (8) occurred on both sides of the ridge, while four species were restricted to the region north of Iceland, and three to the region south of the ridge. Depth (or factors related to depth) appeared to be the most important factor in driving distributional patterns of the studied species. Temperature was also an important driver, but not to the same extent as depth. On the contrary, salinity and sediment type did not have much influence on munnopsid distribution patterns. Hence, the presence of the ridge does not restrict faunal exchange between the northern North Atlantic Ocean and GIN Seas for most of the investigated species, which may be explained by the good swimming abilities and the ecological flexibility of these munnopsid species.

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DOI 10.1016/j.dsr.2013.11.004

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Schnurr, S. , Brandt, A. , Brix, S. , Fiorentino, D. , Malyutina, M. and Svavarsson, J. (2014): Composition and distribution of selected munnopsid genera (Crustacea, Isopoda, Asellota) in Icelandic waters , Deep Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers, 84 , pp. 142-155 . doi: 10.1016/j.dsr.2013.11.004

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