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Polar Biology

, Volume 29, Issue 10, pp 837–848 | Cite as

Distribution and structure of macrobenthic fauna in the eastern Laptev Sea in relation to environmental factors

  • Matthias SteffensEmail author
  • Dieter Piepenburg
  • Michael K. Schmid
Original Paper

Abstract

The Laptev Sea still ranks among the less known regions of the world’s ocean. Here, we describe the distribution and composition of macrobenthic communities of the eastern shelf and identify key environmental control factors. Samples were collected from dredge catches carried out at 11 stations at depths between 17 and 44 m in August/September 1993 during the TRANSDRIFT I cruise of the Russian R/V “Ivan Kireev.” A total of 265 species were identified from the samples, mostly crustaceans (94). Species numbers per station ranged from 30 to 104. Macrobenthic community distribution clearly showed a depth zonation, consisting of a “Shallow” zone (<20 m), dominated by the crustaceans Mysis oculata (Mysidacea) and Saduria entomon (Isopoda) as well as molluscs, an “Intermediate” zone (20–30 m), characterised by a clear dominance of the bivalve Portlandia arctica, and a “Deep” zone (>30 m) with bivalves P. arctica and Nuculoma bellotii as well as brittle stars Ophiocten sericeum and Ophiura sarsi being most abundant. According to a correlation analysis between faunal and environmental data a combination of duration of ice cover and water depth, respectively, showed the highest affinity to macrobenthic distribution. We conclude that the food input to the benthos, which is largely related to ice-cover regime, and the stress due to the pronounced seasonal salinity variability, which is primarily related to water depth, are prime determinants of macrobenthic community distribution and major causes of the prominent depth zonation in the Laptev Sea. Within the depth zones, sediment composition seems to be most significant in controlling the patterns in the distribution of the benthic fauna.

Keywords

Macrobenthic Community Brittle Star Macrobenthic Fauna Macrobenthic Assemblage Lena Delta 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgements

We thank the captain and crew of the Russian vessel “Ivan Kireev” as well as the participants of the TRANSDRIFT I expedition in 1993 for their help during the cruise. Thanks to I. Richling (Kiel) for identification of mollusc species. V. Wiese (Cismar) kindly provided species data for non-bivalve molluscs. Thanks also to F. Lindemann (Kiel) for sedimentological data, as well as to I.A. Dmitrenko (St Petersburg) and J. Hölemann (Bremerhaven) for providing CTD data. Moreover, the help of H. Feder (Fairbanks) and an anonymous reviewer in amending the manuscript was of great value and is gratefully acknowledged. Our study is a contribution to the interdisciplinary Russian–German project “Laptev Sea System” which was supported by grant 03PL009A of the German Federal Ministry of Research and Technology to M. Spindler (Kiel). This paper is based on M.S.’s master thesis.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matthias Steffens
    • 1
    Email author
  • Dieter Piepenburg
    • 2
  • Michael K. Schmid
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut für Polarökologie der Universität KielKielGermany
  2. 2.Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Literatur MainzInstitut für Polarökologie der Universität KielKielGermany

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