Deep-water communities in the West-Nordic area
Nordic Council of Ministers, Nordic Council of Ministers Secretariat2009 (English)Other (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
The project "Deep-water communities in the West-Nordic Area" was funded by the Nordic Coucil of Ministers in the years 2006 - 2008. The aim was to provide information about the community structure and diversity of epibenthic megafauna in the western region of the Nordic Seas. The focus was on the importance of hard substrate in the formation and definition of animal communities. In the photographs analyzed, community structure was found to vary strongly between sites in Icelandic waters but not much within sites. Furthermore, community structure seemed to be strongly effected by the presence of any hard surfaces rather than just the clear difference between soft and hard bottoms which has often been reported as being the important ecological distinction. The wider scope provided by video data from the Jan Mayen region showed a highly patchy distribution of epifauna and that patches are often dominated by a single macrofaunal species or a few closely related species. This patchiness seems to be the result of presence or absence of hard surfaces to act as anchor sites for sessile and semi-sessile species. Two important questions raised by this project are: why is distribution of much of the megafauna in the study area organized in such species-specific patches and are such patchiness and observed diversity patterns typical for the region. Also, it suggests that in order to protect the true diversity of the region marine protected areas will have to be large and not limited to small areas of a specific bottom type. We recommend further ecological and biological studies in the area before human exploitation is allowed on a large scale.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Copenhagen: Nordic Council of Ministers , 2009. , 44 p.
TemaNord, ISSN 0908-6692 ; 2009:529
Research subject Fisheries
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:norden:org:diva-1698ISBN: 978-92-893-1858-7OAI: oai:DiVA.org:norden-1698DiVA: diva2:702041