IMIS | Flanders Marine Institute
 

Flanders Marine Institute

Platform for marine research

IMIS

Publications | Institutes | Persons | Datasets | Projects | Maps
[ report an error in this record ]basket (0): add | show Print this page

Discovery of widely available abyssal rock patches reveals overlooked habitat type and prompts rethinking deep-sea biodiversity
Riehl, T.; Wölfl, A.-C.; Augustin, N.; Devey, C.W.; Brandt, A. (2020). Discovery of widely available abyssal rock patches reveals overlooked habitat type and prompts rethinking deep-sea biodiversity. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 117(27): 15450-15459. https://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1920706117
In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. The Academy: Washington, D.C.. ISSN 0027-8424; e-ISSN 1091-6490, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 

Keyword
    Marine/Coastal
Author keywords
    hydroacoustics; remote sensing; geobiodiversity; habitat mapping; polymetallic nodules

Authors  Top 
  • Riehl, T.
  • Wölfl, A.-C.
  • Augustin, N.
  • Devey, C.W.
  • Brandt, A., more

Abstract
    Habitat heterogeneity and species diversity are often linked. On the deep seafloor, sediment variability and hard-substrate availability influence geographic patterns of species richness and turnover. The assumption of a generally homogeneous, sedimented abyssal seafloor is at odds with the fact that the faunal diversity in some abyssal regions exceeds that of shallow-water environments. Here we show, using a ground-truthed analysis of multibeam sonar data, that the deep seafloor may be much rockier than previously assumed. A combination of bathymetry data, ruggedness, and backscatter from a trans-Atlantic corridor along the Vema Fracture Zone, covering crustal ages from 0 to 100 Ma, show rock exposures occurring at all crustal ages. Extrapolating to the whole Atlantic, over 260,000 km2 of rock habitats potentially occur along Atlantic fracture zones alone, significantly increasing our knowledge about abyssal habitat heterogeneity. This implies that sampling campaigns need to be considerably more sophisticated than at present to capture the full deep-sea habitat heterogeneity and biodiversity.

All data in the Integrated Marine Information System (IMIS) is subject to the VLIZ privacy policy Top | Authors