Adult life strategy affects distribution patterns in abyssal isopods – implications for conservation in Pacific nodule areas.

Brix, Saskia, Osborn, Karen J., Kaiser, Stefanie, Truskey, Sarit B., Schnurr, Sarah M., Brenke, Nils, Malyutina, Marina and Martinez Arbizu, Pedro (2020) Adult life strategy affects distribution patterns in abyssal isopods – implications for conservation in Pacific nodule areas. Open Access Biogeosciences (BG), 17 (23). pp. 6163-6184. DOI 10.5194/bg-17-6163-2020.

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Supplementary data:


With increasing pressure to extract minerals from the deep-sea bed, understanding the ecological and evolutionary processes that limit the spatial distribution of species is critical to assessing ecosystem resilience to mining impacts. The aim of our study is to gain a better knowledge about the abyssal isopod crustacean fauna of the central Pacific manganese nodule province (Clarion–Clipperton Fracture Zone, CCZ). In total, we examined 22 epibenthic sledge (EBS) samples taken at five abyssal areas located in the central northern Pacific including four contracting areas and one Area of Particular Environmental Interest (APEI3). Additional samples come from the DISturbance and reCOLonization experiment (DISCOL) area situated in the Peru Basin, southeastern Pacific. Using an integrative approach that combined morphological and genetic methods with species delimitation analyses (SDs) we assessed patterns of species range size, diversity, and community composition for four different isopod families (Munnopsidae Lilljeborg, 1864; Desmosomatidae Sars, 1897; Haploniscidae Hansen, 1916; and Macrostylidae Hansen, 1916) displaying different dispersal capacities as adults. Isopods are brooders, so their distribution and connectivity cannot be explained by larval dispersal but rather by adult locomotion. In particular, our objectives were to (1) identify potential differences in the distributional ranges of isopod families relative to their locomotory potential and to (2) evaluate the representativeness of the APEI for the preservation of regional biodiversity in the CCZ following mining disturbances. From 619 specimens, our SD analysis could distinguish 170 species, most of which were new to science (94.1 %). We found that increased locomotory ability correlated with higher species diversity with 9 species of Macrostylidae, 23 of Haploniscidae, 52 of Desmosomatidae, and 86 of Munnopsidae. This is supported by family-level rarefaction analyses. As expected, we found the largest species ranges in the families with swimming abilities, with a maximum recorded species range of 5245 and 4480 km in Munnopsidae and Desmosomatidae, respectively. The less motile Haploniscidae and Macrostylidae had maximal species ranges of 1391 and 1440 km, respectively. Overall, rarefaction analyses indicated that species richness did not vary much between areas, but the real number of species was still not sufficiently sampled. This is also indicated by the large proportion of singletons (40.5 %) found in this study. The investigated contractor areas in the CCZ were more similar in species composition and had a higher proportion of shared species between each other than the closely located APEI3 and the distantly located DISCOL area. In fact, the DISCOL area, located in the Peru Basin, had more species in common with the core CCZ areas than APEI3. In this regard, APEI3 does not appear to be representative as serving as a reservoir for the fauna of the investigated contractor areas, at least for isopods, as it has a different species composition. Certainly, more data from other APEIs, as well as preservation reference zones within contractor areas, are urgently needed in order to assess their potential as resources of recolonization of impacted seabed.

Document Type: Article
Funder compliance: BMBF:03F0707E
Keywords: abyssal isopods, conservation, manganese nodule areas, Clarion–Clipperton Fracture Zone (CCZ), Pacifc
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: Yes
Publisher: Copernicus Publications (EGU)
Related URLs:
Projects: JPIO-MiningImpact
Date Deposited: 16 Nov 2021 10:53
Last Modified: 08 Feb 2023 09:37

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