Observations of organic falls from the abyssal Clarion-Clipperton Zone in the tropical eastern Pacific Ocean.

Amon, Diva J., Hilario, Ana, Arbizu, Pedro Martinez and Smith, Craig R. (2017) Observations of organic falls from the abyssal Clarion-Clipperton Zone in the tropical eastern Pacific Ocean. Marine Biodiversity, 47 (2). pp. 311-321. DOI 10.1007/s12526-016-0572-4.

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Organic falls can form nutrient-rich, ephemeral hotspots of productivity and biodiversity at the deep-sea floor, especially in food-poor abyssal plains. We report here the first wood falls and second carcass fall recorded from the Clarion-Clipperton Zone in the tropical eastern Pacific Ocean, an area that could be mined for polymetallic nodules in the future. A small cetacean fall in the mobile-scavenger stage likely recently arrived on the seafloor was observed, whereas most of the wood falls were highly degraded. There were multiple species in attendance at the wood falls including organic-fall specialists such as Xylophagaidae molluscs. Many of the taxa attending the carcass fall were known mobile scavengers that regularly attend bait parcels in the Pacific Ocean. These results further confirm that wood falls can occur at large distances (>1450 km) from major land masses, providing an adequate supply of wood to the abyssal seafloor for colonization by wood-boring molluscs and associated fauna. Organic falls may be regionally abundant and are likely to influence species and habitat diversity in the abyssal areas of the Clarion-Clipperton Zone.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Whale fall; Wood fall; Scavenger; Clarion-Clipperton Zone; Deep-sea mining; Xylophagaidae; Cetacean; Polymetallic nodule
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
Publisher: Springer, Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung
Projects: JPIO-MiningImpact, MIDAS
Date Deposited: 22 Oct 2019 10:19
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2020 09:05
URI: https://oceanrep.geomar.de/id/eprint/48037

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