, Volume 23, Issue 11, pp 792-801

Macrozoobenthic community structure in a high-arctic East Greenland fjord

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Abstract

A macrozoobenthic community study was conducted in an East Greenlandic fjord (Young Sound, 74°18′N; 20°15′W) during the ice-free period from July to August in 1996. Grab samples as well as underwater photography were used for quantifying the macrozoobenthos at water depths between 20 and 85 m. Abundance decreased with depth from 2700 ind. · m−2 at 20 m to 900 ind. · m−2 at 85 m. At a time series station at 35 m, abundance increased from 700 ind. · m−2 in mid-July to 1400 ind. · m−2 in mid-August. Polychaetes dominated in grab samples but bivalves constituted an important part of the benthic fauna, especially at the shallow part of the depth gradient. Photographs revealed high abundances of large epifaunal species, especially brittle stars. Diversity was generally high, with around 45 species per 201 individuals, as calculated by Hurlbert's rarefaction term. A gradual change in community structure with depth was observed, which could be related to variation in sediment composition and disturbance intensity.

Accepted: 20 May 2000