Does Presence of a Mid-Ocean Ridge Enhance Biomass and Biodiversity?

Type Article
Date 2013-05
Language English
Author(s) Priede Imants G.1, Bergstad Odd Aksel2, Miller Peter I.3, Vecchione Michael4, Gebruk Andrey5, Falkenhaug Tone2, Billett David S. M.6, Craig Jessica1, Dale Andrew C.7, Shields Mark A.1, Tilstone Gavin H.3, Sutton Tracey T.8, Gooday Andrew J.6, Inall Mark E.7, Jones Daniel O. B.6, Martinez-Vicente Victor3, Menezes Gui M.9, Niedzielski Tomasz10, Sigurosson Porsteinn11, Rothe Nina6, Rogacheva Antonina5, Alt Claudia H. S.6, Brand Timothy7, Abell Richard7, Brierley Andrew S.12, Cousins Nicola J.1, Crockard Deborah1, Hoelzel A. Rus13, Hoines Age14, Letessier Tom B.15, Read Jane F.6, Shimmield Tracy7, Cox Martin J.16, Galbraith John K.17, Gordon John D. M.7, Horton Tammy6, Neat Francis18, Lorance PascalORCID19
Affiliation(s) 1 : Univ Aberdeen, Inst Biol & Environm Sci, Oceanlab, Aberdeen, Scotland.
2 : Inst Marine Res, Flodevigen, His, Norway.
3 : Plymouth Marine Lab, Remote Sensing Grp, Plymouth, Devon, England.
4 : Smithsonian Inst, Natl Museum Nat Hist, Natl Systemat Lab, Natl Marine Fisheries Serv,NOAA, Washington, DC 20560 USA.
5 : Russian Acad Sci, PP Shirshov Inst Oceanol, Moscow, Russia.
6 : Natl Oceanog Ctr, Southampton, Hants, England.
7 : Scottish Marine Inst, Scottish Assoc Marine Sci, Oban, Argyll, Scotland.
8 : Coll William & Mary, Virginia Inst Marine Sci, Gloucester Point, VA USA.
9 : Univ Azores, Dept Oceanog & Fisheries, Horta, Faial, Portugal.
10 : Univ Wroclaw, Inst Geog & Reg Dev, Dept Geoinformat & Cartog, PL-50138 Wroclaw, Poland.
11 : Marine Res Inst, IS-121 Reykjavik, Iceland.
12 : Univ St Andrews, Scottish Oceans Inst, St Andrews KY16 9AJ, Fife, Scotland.
13 : Univ Durham, Sch Biol & Biomed Sci, Durham, England.
14 : Inst Marine Res, N-5024 Bergen, Norway.
15 : Univ Western Australia, Oceans Inst, Ctr Marine Futures, Perth, WA 6009, Australia.
16 : Australian Antarctic Div, Southern Ocean Ecosyst Change Dept, Kingston, Tas, Australia.
17 : NOAA, Northeast Fisheries Sci Ctr, Woods Hole, MA USA.
18 : Marine Scotland Sci, Marine Lab, Aberdeen, Scotland.
19 : Inst Francais Rech Exploitat Mer, Nantes, France.
Source Plos One (1932-6203) (Public Library Science), 2013-05 , Vol. 8 , N. 5 , P. -
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0061550
WOS© Times Cited 47
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.
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Priede Imants G., Bergstad Odd Aksel, Miller Peter I., Vecchione Michael, Gebruk Andrey, Falkenhaug Tone, Billett David S. M., Craig Jessica, Dale Andrew C., Shields Mark A., Tilstone Gavin H., Sutton Tracey T., Gooday Andrew J., Inall Mark E., Jones Daniel O. B., Martinez-Vicente Victor, Menezes Gui M., Niedzielski Tomasz, Sigurosson Porsteinn, Rothe Nina, Rogacheva Antonina, Alt Claudia H. S., Brand Timothy, Abell Richard, Brierley Andrew S., Cousins Nicola J., Crockard Deborah, Hoelzel A. Rus, Hoines Age, Letessier Tom B., Read Jane F., Shimmield Tracy, Cox Martin J., Galbraith John K., Gordon John D. M., Horton Tammy, Neat Francis, Lorance Pascal (2013). Does Presence of a Mid-Ocean Ridge Enhance Biomass and Biodiversity? Plos One, 8(5), -. Publisher's official version : , Open Access version :