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Functional diversity patterns of abyssal nematodes in the Eastern Mediterranean: A comparison between cold seeps and typical deep sea sediments
Kalogeropoulou, V.; Keklikoglou, K.; Lampadariou, N. (2015). Functional diversity patterns of abyssal nematodes in the Eastern Mediterranean: A comparison between cold seeps and typical deep sea sediments. J. Sea Res. 98: 57-72. hdl.handle.net/10.1016/j.seares.2014.11.003
In: Journal of Sea Research. Elsevier/Netherlands Institute for Sea Research: Amsterdam; Den Burg. ISSN 1385-1101, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
Author keywords
    Functional diversity; Nematodes; Cold seeps; Deep sea; Eastern Mediterranean; BTA analysis

Authors  Top 
  • Kalogeropoulou, V.
  • Keklikoglou, K.
  • Lampadariou, N.

Abstract
    Spatial patterns in deep sea nematode biological trait composition and functional diversity were investigated between chemosynthetic and typical deep sea ecosystems as well as between different microhabitats within the chemosynthetic ecosystems, in the Eastern Mediterranean. The chemosynthetic ecosystems chosen were two mud volcanoes, Napoli at 1950 m depth and Amsterdam at 2040 m depth which are cold seeps characterized by high chemosynthetic activity and spatial heterogeneity. Typical deep sea ecosystems consisted of fine-grained silt-clay sediments which were collected from three areas located in the south Ionian Sea at 2765 to 2840 m depth, the southern Cretan margin at 1089 to 1998 m depth and the Levantine Sea at 3055 to 3870 m depth. A range of biological traits (9 traits; 31 categories) related to buccal morphology, tail shape, body size, body shape, life history strategy, sediment position, cuticle morphology, amphid shape and presence of somatic setae were combined to identify patterns in the functional composition of nematode assemblages between the two habitats, the two mud volcanoes (macroscale) and between the microhabitats within the mud volcanoes (microscale). Data on trait correspondence was provided by biological information on species and genera. A total of 170 nematode species were allocated in 67 different trait combinations, i.e. functional groups, based on taxonomic, morphological and behavioral characteristics. The Biological Trait Analysis (BTA) revealed significant differences between the mud volcanoes and the typical deep sea sediments indicating the presence of different biological functions in ecologically very different environments. Moreover, chemosynthetic activity and habitat heterogeneity within mud volcanoes enhance the presence of different biological and ecological functions in nematode assemblages of different microhabitats. Functional diversity and species richness patterns varied significantly across the different environmental gradients prevailing in the study areas. Biological trait analysis, with the addition of newly introduced trait categories, and functional diversity outcomes provided greater explanatory power of ecosystem functioning than species richness and taxonomic diversity.

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