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Deep-sea whale fall fauna from the Atlantic resembles that of the Pacific Ocean
Sumida, P.Y.G.; Alfaro-Lucas, J.M.; Shimabukuro, M.; Kitazato, H.; Perez, J.A.A.; Soares-Gomes, A.; Toyofuku, T.; Lima, A.O.S.; Ara, K.; Fujiwara, Y. (2016). Deep-sea whale fall fauna from the Atlantic resembles that of the Pacific Ocean. NPG Scientific Reports 6(22139): 9 pp.
In: Scientific Reports (Nature Publishing Group). Nature Publishing Group: London. ISSN 2045-2322, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Sumida, P.Y.G.
  • Alfaro-Lucas, J.M.
  • Shimabukuro, M.
  • Kitazato, H.
  • Perez, J.A.A.
  • Soares-Gomes, A.
  • Toyofuku, T.
  • Lima, A.O.S.
  • Ara, K.
  • Fujiwara, Y.

    Whale carcasses create remarkable habitats in the deep-sea by producing concentrated sources of organic matter for a food-deprived biota as well as places of evolutionary novelty and biodiversity. Although many of the faunal patterns on whale falls have already been described, the biogeography of these communities is still poorly known especially from basins other than the NE Pacific Ocean. The present work describes the community composition of the deepest natural whale carcass described to date found at 4204?m depth on Southwest Atlantic Ocean with manned submersible Shinkai 6500. This is the first record of a natural whale fall in the deep Atlantic Ocean. The skeleton belonged to an Antarctic Minke whale composed of only nine caudal vertebrae, whose degradation state suggests it was on the bottom for 5–10 years. The fauna consisted mainly of galatheid crabs, a new species of the snail Rubyspira and polychaete worms, including a new Osedax species. Most of the 41 species found in the carcass are new to science, with several genera shared with NE Pacific whale falls and vent and seep ecosystems. This similarity suggests the whale-fall fauna is widespread and has dispersed in a stepping stone fashion, deeply influencing its evolutionary history.

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