Seafloor heterogeneity influences the biodiversity–ecosystem functioning relationships in the deep sea

Type Article
Date 2016-05
Language English
Author(s) Zeppilli DanielaORCID1, 2, Pusceddu Antonio3, Trincardi Fabio4, Danovaro Roberto1, 5
Affiliation(s) 1 : Univ Politecn Marche, Dept Life & Environm Sci, Via Brecce Bianche, I-60131 Ancona, Italy.
2 : IFREMER, Inst Carnot Ifremer EDROME, REM EEP LEP, Ctr Brest,ZI Pointe Diable, CS10070, F-29280 Plouzane, France.
3 : Univ Cagliari, Dept Life & Environm Sci, Via Fiorelli 1, I-09126 Cagliari, Italy.
4 : ISMAR CNR, Via Gobetti 101, I-40129 Bologna, Italy.
5 : Stn Zool Anton Dohrn, I-80121 Naples, Italy.
Source Scientific Reports (2045-2322) (Nature Publishing Group), 2016-05 , Vol. 6 , P. -
DOI 10.1038/srep26352
WOS© Times Cited 65
Abstract Theoretical ecology predicts that heterogeneous habitats allow more species to co-exist in a given area. In the deep sea, biodiversity is positively linked with ecosystem functioning, suggesting that deep-seabed heterogeneity could influence ecosystem functions and the relationships between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning (BEF). To shed light on the BEF relationships in a heterogeneous deep seabed, we investigated variations in meiofaunal biodiversity, biomass and ecosystem efficiency within and among different seabed morphologies (e.g., furrows, erosional troughs, sediment waves and other depositional structures, landslide scars and deposits) in a narrow geo-morphologically articulated sector of the Adriatic Sea. We show that distinct seafloor morphologies are characterized by highly diverse nematode assemblages, whereas areas sharing similar seabed morphologies host similar nematode assemblages. BEF relationships are consistently positive across the entire region, but different seabed morphologies are characterised by different slope coefficients of the relationship. Our results suggest that seafloor heterogeneity, allowing diversified assemblages across different habitats, increases diversity and influence ecosystem processes at the regional scale, and BEF relationships at smaller spatial scales. We conclude that high-resolution seabed mapping and a detailed analysis of the species distribution at the habitat scale are crucial for improving management of goods and services delivered by deep-sea ecosystems.
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