Marine Biodiversity

, Volume 41, Issue 3, pp 455–465 | Cite as

Diversity of larger free-living nematodes from macrobenthos (>250 μm) in the Arctic deep-sea Canada Basin

  • Jyotsna Sharma
  • Bodil A. Bluhm
Marine Biodiversity under Change


Nematodes were examined from 35 macrofauna samples (>250 μm, 0.03-0.06 m2 per box core sample) from the Arctic deep sea covering a depth range of 640-3,848 m and a geographic area from the Chukchi Cap in the west and to Amundsen Gulf in the east. The samples comprised a total of 25 families and 84 genera. Abundances ranged from 0-6800 ind m-2 with considerably higher abundances at the Chukchi Sea slope and in Amundsen Gulf than in the Canada Basin abyss and at Chukchi Borderland stations. Genus richness per station ranged from 0 to 32, with overall high evenness at all locations (>0.9). The Comesomatidae was the dominant family, followed by the Oncholaimidae and comprised 39% and 16% respectively of the total nematode fauna. The dominant genus was Sabatieria, followed by Viscosia. Overall, taxonomic composition differed from meiofaunal studies (≥32 μm to 1 mm) by the common occurrence of the Oncholaimidae and Thoracostomopsidae, which consists of predatory and omnivorous genera and the deposit feeders, Leptosomatidae, Phanodermatidae. We attribute the difference to the large size of these nematodes related to the recovery from macrofauna samples. The dominant feeding group, non-selective deposit feeders was dominated by Sabatieria. The epigrowth feeders that are known to feed on diatoms were least represented. The dominance of large detritivores and deposit-feeding nematodes indicates they play an important role in carbon recycling in the benthic food web.


Nematoda Arctic Deep sea Abundance Diversity Macrofauna 



We are grateful to the captains, chief scientists and crews of USCGC Healy and CCGC Louis. St. Laurent. We also thank S. Gagaev, M. Kaufman and C. Debenham for sorting samples and Dr. Duane Hope, NMNH for help in confirming some nematode identifications. This study was made possible by funding from NOAA Ocean Exploration and the Arctic Ocean Diversity Census of Marine Life project. The scientific content of this paper was first presented at the 2010 Arctic Frontiers meeting, and the support and initiative of ARCTOS ( and Arctic Frontiers ( are gratefully acknowledged. We appreciate the constructive comments of the referees that helped to improve the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Senckenberg, Gesellschaft für Naturforschung and Springer 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of Texas at San AntonioSan AntonioUSA
  2. 2.Institute of Marine ScienceUniversity of Alaska, School of Fisheries and Ocean SciencesFairbanksUSA

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