Polar Biology

, Volume 30, Issue 4, pp 415–425 | Cite as

Comparison of seastar (Asteroidea) fauna across island groups of the Scotia Arc

  • Stacy Kim
  • Andrew Thurber
Original Paper


The Antarctic shelf fauna is isolated from other continental shelf faunas both physically by distance, and oceanographically by the Antarctic circumpolar current (ACC). To elucidate the relative importance of these two isolating mechanisms, we used the seastar fauna of the south-Atlantic sub-Antarctic islands to address the hypothesis that the ACC is dominant in controlling the distribution pattern of Antarctic fauna. We expected that seastar faunas from islands on the high latitude side of the ACC would show more similarities to each other than to faunas from islands on the low latitude side. The alternative isolation by distance model predicted that the island furthest from others would have the most unique fauna. For shelf-depth (<500 m) Asteroidea of the Scotia Arc region, assemblages were more similar between islands on each side of the ACC barrier than islands that were closer together, and this pattern was caused by differences in abundance of a few ubiquitous species.


Antarctic Circumpolar current Polar front Isolation Benthos Continental shelf 



We would like to acknowledge the excellent support provided by RPSC personnel and the officers and crew of the RVIB Nathanial B. Palmer. We are very grateful to Bill Detrich and the ICEFISH 2004 cruise participants, especially Marino Vacchi, Federico Mazzei, Romolo Fochetti, Craig Marshall, Phil Ross and Shane Windsor for their assistance and companionship in the field. We thank Kamille Hammerstrom, Jim Oakden, and John Oliver for help, advice and encouragement. Jim McClintock and two anonymous reviewers improved the manuscript with their comments. This work was supported in part by National Science Foundation grants OPP-0126319 to Stacy L. Kim (Moss Landing Marine Laboratories) and OPP-0132032 to H. William Detrich (Northeastern University). This is publication number 16 from the ICEFISH 2004 cruise (H.W.D., Chief Scientist, RVIB Nathaniel B. Palmer). For more information, visit


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Moss Landing Marine LaboratoriesMoss LandingUSA
  2. 2.Integrative Oceanography DivisionScripps Institution of OceanographySan DiegoUSA

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