Polar Biology

, Volume 24, Issue 8, pp 615–619

Quantification of iceberg impact and benthic recolonisation patterns in the Weddell Sea (Antarctica)

  • Julian Gutt
  • Andreas Starmans
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s003000100263

Cite this article as:
Gutt, J. & Starmans, A. Polar Biol (2001) 24: 615. doi:10.1007/s003000100263


Video transects in the eastern Weddell Sea were used to classify the mega-epibenthos into stages of recolonisation after iceberg impact and unaffected fauna. Three site categories differing in bottom topography and concentration of grounded icebergs were analysed. At small iceberg banks and on a comparatively plain seabed, 52–60% of undisturbed seafloor was found, and below 20% at a large iceberg bank. The impact was calculated as a function of values for recently disturbed areas and an estimated recovery time. The results show that, statistically, the Antarctic benthos never reaches peak maturity and that iceberg scouring is among the five most significant disturbances that any large ecosystem on earth experiences.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Julian Gutt
    • 1
  • Andreas Starmans
    • 1
  1. 1.Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Columbusstrasse, 27568 Bremerhaven, Germany

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