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Polar Biology

, Volume 38, Issue 3, pp 413–430 | Cite as

Pycnogonida from the Bellingshausen and Amundsen seas: taxonomy and biodiversity

  • Tomás Munilla
  • Anna Soler-MembrivesEmail author
Original Paper

Abstract

The Bellingshausen and Amundsen Seas are among the least studied Antarctic areas. Pycnogonids constitute a common and conspicuous component of the Antarctic marine fauna. Antarctic pycnogonids have been widely studied and are usually more abundant than elsewhere. Therefore, they represent a key taxon to understand the zoogeographic and bathymetric distributions of the fauna from these two poorly sampled seas. Furthermore, we aim to compare the diversity and composition of the pycnogonids in these areas with those in other Antarctic zones. Three main surveys were carried out in these regions (Bentart 2003 and 2006 and Biopearl II 2008). In total, 879 pycnogonids belonging to 65 species were recorded in 49 stations. Two new species are described: Heteronymphon krappi n.sp. and Nymphon nakamurai n.sp. Ammothea magniceps and A. hesperidensis are recorded for the second time in the Antarctic. The most abundant family is the Nymphonidae (60.5 %), and Nymphon australe is the most abundant species (25.5 %). The biogeographic analysis revealed 39 species in the Bellingshausen Sea (16 new records) and 19 species in the Amundsen Sea (18 new records). The circumpolar pattern is the most common found. The Bellingshausen Sea seems to be a poor area in terms of abundance and species richness compared to the Amundsen Sea and other Antarctic zones. Faunal similarity was clustered into three main groups: the shallow-water stations, the outer continental shelf stations and the slope stations. The abundance of individuals likely responds to the varying amount of organic matter that reaches each bathymetric zone.

Keywords

Antarctic pycnogonids Bathymetric distributions Circumpolarity Heteronymphon krappi n.sp. Nymphon nakamurai n.sp 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The BENTART cruises were performed under the auspices of two Spanish Ministry of Science and Technology (MCYT) Antarctic programs (REN2001-1074/ANT and CGL2004-01856). We express our gratitude to the head of campaign Ana Ramos, to the officers and crew of the RV Hespérides and to our colleagues from the BENTART cruises in 2003 and 2006 for their help in this paper. Likewise, we are grateful to Dr. Barnes (BAS) who kindly provided us samples from the British cruise, to Drs. K. Linse and P. Enderlein for organizing and running the BIOPEARL II cruise and to the officers and crew of RRS James Clark Ross, whose patience, accuracy and timing have made this work possible. We also acknowledge the British Antarctic Survey and the Natural Environment Research Council for funding the British expedition. We thank the reviewers for their valuable comments which helped to considerably improve the quality of the manuscript.

Supplementary material

300_2014_1585_MOESM1_ESM.docx (58 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 57 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Unitat de ZoologiaUniversitat Autònoma de BarcelonaBellaterra, BarcelonaSpain

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