, Volume 12, Issue 2, pp 291-301

Quantitative investigations on macrobenthos communities of the southeastern Weddell Sea shelf based on multibox corer samples

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A total of 233 multibox corer samples from 36 stations along the southeastern Weddell Sea shelf and upper continental slope between Atka Bay (70°S) and Gould Bay (78° S), covering a depth range from 170 to 2,037 m, provided biomass and abundance data for analysis of faunal communities. Twenty-eight major taxa were distinguished. Based on these data, 3 different macrobenthos communities could be identified by means of cluster analysis. Hexactinellid sponges, polychaetes and echinoderms were most abundant. Biomass values have been found to be in the range of 94 mg up to 1.6 kg wet weight per sqm. According to TWINSPAN, the sampled stations can be divided into two groups each consisting of two major subgroups. Peracarid crustaceans, polychaetes and bivalves are commonly distributed in the area of investigation whereas others such as sponges, brachiopods, pantopods and asteroids are more confined to Kapp Norvegia and Halley Bay. Biomass values of these latter taxa off Kapp Norvegia were generally higher than in the Halley Bay area.

Data presented here were collected during the European Polarstern Study (EPOS) sponsored by the European Science Foundation