Polar Biology

, 29:860 | Cite as

Species diversity and distribution within the deep-sea nematode genus Acantholaimus on the continental shelf and slope in Antarctica

  • Ilse De Mesel
  • Hee Joong Lee
  • Sandra Vanhove
  • Magda Vincx
  • Ann Vanreusel
Original Paper


Species diversity and distribution—in relation with biogeography, bathymetry and environmental characteristics—within the genus Acantholaimus were investigated on the shelf and slope (182–2,009 m) in the Weddell Sea (Kapp Norvegia and Vestkapp) and near the Antarctic Peninsula (Drake Passage and Bransfield Strait). The occurrence of the otherwise typical deep-sea genus Acantholaimus in high densities and diversity on the continental shelf is a unique feature of the Southern Ocean. Fifty-five Acantholaimus species (morpho-types) were distinguished in our study area, of which 39 were found on the shelf. The Acantholaimus communities were characterised by a high number of congeneric species and the presence of many rare species, similar to typical deep-sea communities. Fourteen species had a distribution extending from the shelf to the lower slope. High local and regional diversity was obvious and a considerable level of endemism was suggested. A negative impact of chlorophyll a concentrations, reflecting the availability of phytoplankton, was found on the Acantholaimus densities and species diversity.


Continental Shelf Southern Ocean Meiofauna Antarctic Peninsula Nematode Community 
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.



We would like to thank the officers and crew members of the research vessel Polarstern for their careful deployment of the coring equipment during the EASIZ II expedition. The research was performed under the auspices of the Scientific Research Program on Antarctica from the Belgian Science Policy and the concerted actions of the Ghent University (GOA contract 01GZ0705). Dirk Van Gansbeke and Danielle Schram are acknowledged for the analysis of the sediment properties.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ilse De Mesel
    • 1
  • Hee Joong Lee
    • 1
  • Sandra Vanhove
    • 1
  • Magda Vincx
    • 1
  • Ann Vanreusel
    • 1
  1. 1.Marine Biology SectionGhent UniversityGhentBelgium

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