Glass sponge distribution in relation to abiotic factors and predators – A large-scale regional study in the Weddell Sea, Antarctica


Contact
luisa.federwisch [ at ] awi.de

Abstract

Glass sponges (Porifera, Hexactinellida) are important structuring components of the benthos in Antarctic shelf regions. They can grow up to 2 m in height and form extensive sponge beds in some areas, dominating the benthic biomass and providing habitat for a variety of other animals. However, much of their ecology is still unknown to date, including the factors determining their distribution and abundance. In the current study, we investigate glass sponge distribution and abundance in the south-eastern Weddell Sea in relation to environmental factors (water mass characteristics, currents, ice cover), as well as food availability and abundance of predators. During two recent expeditions with RV Polarstern in 2013/14 and 2015/16, we collected photos and videos of the ocean floor by using different gear equipped with HD cameras: an Ocean Floor Observation System (OFOS), a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV), and a multi grab (MG). For each of 28 stations, 30 images are selected and analysed for abundance and species composition of glass sponges and their predators, as well as substrate characteristics. In addition to that, we measured temperature, salinity, concentrations of dissolved and particulate silicon, and bacterial cell numbers. Furthermore, model and/or satellite data on current strength, mean annual ice cover and chlorophyll a concentration as a proxy for productivity will be included in the study. Glass sponge abundance will be analysed in relation to the environmental data and predator abundance in order to identify the factors determining the abundance and distribution of glass sponges in the south-eastern Weddell Sea. Our findings will provide an important baseline to assess how glass sponge communities might change in a changing Antarctic environment.



Item Type
Conference (Poster)
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Primary Division
Programs
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Peer revision
Not peer-reviewed
Publication Status
Published
Event Details
10th World Sponge Conference, 25 Jun 2017 - 30 Jun 2017, Galway, Ireland.
Eprint ID
45269
Cite as
Federwisch, L. , Pineda Metz, S. , Owsianowski, N. , Gerdes, D. , Piepenburg, D. and Richter, C. (2017): Glass sponge distribution in relation to abiotic factors and predators – A large-scale regional study in the Weddell Sea, Antarctica , 10th World Sponge Conference, Galway, Ireland, 25 June 2017 - 30 June 2017 .


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