Patterns of Macrofaunal Biodiversity Across the Clarion-Clipperton Zone: An Area Targeted for Seabed Mining

Type Article
Date 2021-04
Language English
Author(s) Washburn Travis W.1, Menot LenaickORCID2, Bonifácio Paulo2, Pape Ellen3, Błażewicz Magdalena4, Bribiesca-Contreras Guadalupe5, Dahlgren Thomas G.6, 7, Fukushima Tomohiko8, Glover Adrian G.5, Ju Se Jong9, Kaiser Stefanie4, Yu Ok Hwan9, Smith Craig R.1
Affiliation(s) 1 : Department of Oceanography, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, Honolulu, HI, United States
2 : Ifremer, Centre Bretagne, REM EEP, Laboratoire Environnement Profond, Plouzané, France
3 : Marine Biology Research Group, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium
4 : Department of Invertebrate Zoology and Hydrobiology, University of Lodz, Łódź, Poland
5 : Department of Life Sciences, Natural History Museum, London, United Kingdom
6 : Department of Marine Sciences, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden
7 : Norwegian Research Centre, Bergen, Norway
8 : Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, Yokosuka, Japan
9 : Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology, Busan, South Korea
Source Frontiers In Marine Science (2296-7745) (Frontiers Media SA), 2021-04 , Vol. 8 , P. 626571 (22p.)
DOI 10.3389/fmars.2021.626571
WOS© Times Cited 28
Keyword(s) macrofauna, deep-sea mining, biodiversity, polychaeta, manganese nodules, POC flux, species ranges, areas of particular environmental interest

Macrofauna are an abundant and diverse component of abyssal benthic communities and are likely to be heavily impacted by polymetallic nodule mining in the Clarion-Clipperton Zone (CCZ). In 2012, the International Seabed Authority (ISA) used available benthic biodiversity data and environmental proxies to establish nine no-mining areas, called Areas of Particular Environmental Interest (APEIs) in the CCZ. The APEIs were intended as a representative system of protected areas to safeguard biodiversity and ecosystem function across the region from mining impacts. Since 2012, a number of research programs have collected additional ecological baseline data from the CCZ. We assemble and analyze macrofaunal biodiversity data sets from eight studies, focusing on three dominant taxa (Polychaeta, Tanaidacea, and Isopoda), and encompassing 477 box-core samples to address the following questions: (1) How do macrofaunal abundance, biodiversity, and community structure vary across the CCZ, and what are the potential ecological drivers? (2) How representative are APEIs of the nearest contractor areas? (3) How broadly do macrofaunal species range across the CCZ region? and (4) What scientific gaps hinder our understanding of macrofaunal biodiversity and biogeography in the CCZ? Our analyses led us to hypothesize that sampling efficiencies vary across macrofaunal data sets from the CCZ, making quantitative comparisons between studies challenging. Nonetheless, we found that macrofaunal abundance and diversity varied substantially across the CCZ, likely due in part to variations in particulate organic carbon (POC) flux and nodule abundance. Most macrofaunal species were collected only as singletons or doubletons, with additional species still accumulating rapidly at all sites, and with most collected species appearing to be new to science. Thus, macrofaunal diversity remains poorly sampled and described across the CCZ, especially within APEIs, where a total of nine box cores have been taken across three APEIs. Some common macrofaunal species ranged over 600–3000 km, while other locally abundant species were collected across ≤ 200 km. The vast majority of macrofaunal species are rare, have been collected only at single sites, and may have restricted ranges. Major impediments to understanding baseline conditions of macrofaunal biodiversity across the CCZ include: (1) limited taxonomic description and/or barcoding of the diverse macrofauna, (2) inadequate sampling in most of the CCZ, especially within APEIs, and (3) lack of consistent sampling protocols and efficiencies.

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Washburn Travis W., Menot Lenaick, Bonifácio Paulo, Pape Ellen, Błażewicz Magdalena, Bribiesca-Contreras Guadalupe, Dahlgren Thomas G., Fukushima Tomohiko, Glover Adrian G., Ju Se Jong, Kaiser Stefanie, Yu Ok Hwan, Smith Craig R. (2021). Patterns of Macrofaunal Biodiversity Across the Clarion-Clipperton Zone: An Area Targeted for Seabed Mining. Frontiers In Marine Science, 8, 626571 (22p.). Publisher's official version : , Open Access version :