Authors

Imants G. Priede, University of Aberdeen - United Kingdom
Odd Aksel Bergstad, Institute of Marine Research - His, Norway
Peter I. Miller, Plymouth Marine Laboratory - United Kingdom
M. Vecchione, Smithsonian Institution
Andrey Gebruk, Russian Academy of Sciences - Moscow
Tone Falkenhaug, Institute of Marine Research - His, Norway
David S. M. Billett, National Oceanography Centre - United Kingdom
Jessica Craig, University of Aberdeen - United Kingdom
Andrew C. Dale, Scottish Marine Institute - Oban, United Kingdom
Mark A. Shields, University of Aberdeen - United Kingdom
Gavin H. Tilstone, Plymouth Marine Laboratory - United Kingdom
Tracey Sutton, College of William and MaryFollow
Andrew J. Gooday, National Oceanography Centre - United Kingdom
Mark E. Inall, Scottish Marine Institute - Oban, United Kingdom
Daniel O. B. Jones, National Oceanography Centre - United Kingdom
Victor Martinez-Vicente, Plymouth Marine Laboratory - United Kingdom
Gui Menezes, University of the Azores - Faial, Portugal
Tomasz Niedzielski, University of Wroclaw - Poland
Thorsteinn Sigurdsson, Marine Research Institute - Reykjavik, Iceland
Nina Rothe, National Oceanography Centre - United Kingdom
Antonina Rogacheva, Russian Academy of Sciences - Moscow
Claudia H. S. Alt, National Oceanography Centre - United Kingdom
Timothy Brand, Scottish Marine Institute - Oban, United Kingdom
Richard Abell, Scottish Marine Institute - Oban, United Kingdom
Andrew S. Brierley, University of St. Andrews - United Kingdom
Nicola J. Cousins, University of Aberdeen - United Kingdom
Deborah Crockard, University of Aberdeen - United Kingdom
A. Rus Hoelzel, Durham University - United Kingdom
Age Hoines, Institute of Marine Research - Bergen, Norway
Tom B. Letessier, University of Western Australia - Perth
Jane F. Read, University of Aberdeen - United Kingdom
Tracy Shimmield, Scottish Marine Institute - Oban, United Kingdom
Martin J. Cox, Southern Ocean Ecosystem Change Department - Australia
John K. Galbraith, Northeast Fisheries Science Center - Woods Hole
John D. M. Gordon, Scottish marine Institute
Tammy Horton, University of Aberdeen - United Kingdom
Francis Neat, Marine Scotland Science
Pascal Lorance, Institut Francais de Recherche Pour L'exploitation De La Mer

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

5-2-2013

Publication Title

PLoS One

Keywords

Oceans, Sediment, Biodiversity, Fishes, Deep sea, Large animals, Atlantic Ocean, Aquatic animals

ISSN

1932-6203

Volume

8

Issue/No.

5 e61550

First Page

1

Last Page

10

Abstract

In contrast to generally sparse biological communities in open-ocean settings, seamounts and ridges are perceived as areas of elevated productivity and biodiversity capable of supporting commercial fisheries. We investigated the origin of this apparent biological enhancement over a segment of the North Mid-Atlantic Ridge (MAR) using sonar, corers, trawls, traps, and a remotely operated vehicle to survey habitat, biomass, and biodiversity. Satellite remote sensing provided information on flow patterns, thermal fronts, and primary production, while sediment traps measured export flux during 2007–2010. The MAR, 3,704,404 km2 in area, accounts for 44.7% lower bathyal habitat (800–3500 m depth) in the North Atlantic and is dominated by fine soft sediment substrate (95% of area) on a series of flat terraces with intervening slopes either side of the ridge axis contributing to habitat heterogeneity. The MAR fauna comprises mainly species known from continental margins with no evidence of greater biodiversity. Primary production and export flux over the MAR were not enhanced compared with a nearby reference station over the Porcupine Abyssal Plain. Biomasses of benthic macrofauna and megafauna were similar to global averages at the same depths totalling an estimated 258.9 kt C over the entire lower bathyal north MAR. A hypothetical flat plain at 3500 m depth in place of the MAR would contain 85.6 kt C, implying an increase of 173.3 kt C attributable to the presence of the Ridge. This is approximately equal to 167 kt C of estimated pelagic biomass displaced by the volume of the MAR. There is no enhancement of biological productivity over the MAR; oceanic bathypelagic species are replaced by benthic fauna otherwise unable to survive in the mid ocean. We propose that globally sea floor elevation has no effect on deep sea biomass; pelagic plus benthic biomass is constant within a given surface productivity regime.

Comments

©2013 Priede et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Additional Comments

UK Natural Environment Research Council consortium grant #: NE/C512961/1

ORCID ID

0000-0002-5280-7071

DOI

10.1371/journal.pone.0061550

Peer Reviewed

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