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Assemblages of sea stars (Echinodermata: Asteroidea) and brittle stars (Echinodermata: Ophiuroidea) in the Weddell Sea (Antarctica) and off Northeast Greenland (Arctic): a comparison of diversity and abundance
Piepenburg, D.; Voß, J.; Gutt, J. (1997). Assemblages of sea stars (Echinodermata: Asteroidea) and brittle stars (Echinodermata: Ophiuroidea) in the Weddell Sea (Antarctica) and off Northeast Greenland (Arctic): a comparison of diversity and abundance. Polar Biol. 17(4): 305-322.
In: Polar Biology. Springer-Verlag: Berlin; Heidelberg. ISSN 0722-4060, more
Peer reviewed article  

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    Hymenaster Thomson, 1873 [WoRMS]; Ophiacantha antarctica (Lyman, 1879) sensu Mortensen, 1936 [WoRMS]; Ophiacantha bidentata (Bruzelius, 1805) [WoRMS]; Ophiocten sericeum (Forbes, 1852) [WoRMS]; Ophionotus victoriae Bell, 1902 [WoRMS]; Ophiopleura borealis Danielssen & Koren, 1877 [WoRMS]; Ophioplocus incipiens (Koehler, 1922) [WoRMS]; Ophioscolex glacialis Müller & Troschel, 1842 [WoRMS]; Ophiosparte gigas Koehler, 1922 [WoRMS]; Ophiura robusta (Ayres, 1854) [WoRMS]; Ophiurolepis brevirima Mortensen, 1936 [WoRMS]; Ophiurolepis gelida (Koehler, 1901) [WoRMS]; Ophiurolepis martensi (Studer, 1885) [WoRMS]; Marine

Authors  Top | Dataset 
  • Piepenburg, D.
  • Voß, J.
  • Gutt, J.

    Composition and distribution of asteroid and ophiuroid assemblages were investigated by means of Agassiz trawl catches at 34 stations in 220- to 1,200-m depth in the Weddell Sea and at 17 stations in 90- and 830-m depth off Northeast Greenland. A total of 86 species (48 sea stars, 38 brittle stars) were identified in the Weddell Sea whereas off Northeast Greenland a total of 26 species (16 sea stars, 10 brittle stars) were recorded. In both study areas, brittle stars were numerically more important than sea stars, and abundances generally decreased with water depths. Multivariate analyses revealed a conspicuous depth zonation of sea and brittle stars off Greenland. Very high abundances of Ophiocten sericeum and Ophiura robusta characterized the assemblages on shallow shelf banks whereas in greater depths Ophiopleura borealis, Ophioscolex glacialis and Ophiacantha bidentata became dominant, albeit at significantly lower densities. Mass occurrences of brittle stars, such as those recorded on Greenlandic shelf banks, have not been discovered in the Weddell Sea, where distinct assemblages were discriminated in deep shelf trenches as well as on the eastern and southern shelf. Ophioplocus incipiens, Ophiurolepis martensi and Ophiurolepis brevirima were the most prominent species on the eastern shelf. Ophiacantha antarctica, Ophiurolepis gelida and Ophionotus victoriae on the southern shelf, and Ophiosparte gigas as well as the asteriod Hymenaster sp., in the shelf trenches. Overall, the Weddell Sea housed conspicuously more asterozoan species than the waters off Greenland. Higher species diversity was also evident at both a regional and local scale, especially for the eastern Weddell Sea shelf. However, because many species from the Weddell Sea are closely related, the Weddell Sea assemblages were not significantly different from the Greenland ones in terms of taxonomic diversity and distinctness.

  • Asteroids, ophiuroids and holothurians from the South-Eastern Weddell Sea (Southern Ocean), more

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