Marine Biology

, Volume 156, Issue 9, pp 1949–1961 | Cite as

Macrozoobenthos diversity in an oxygen minimum zone off northern Namibia

  • Michael Lothar ZettlerEmail author
  • Ralf Bochert
  • Falk Pollehne
Original Paper


A benthological survey in the Benguela upwelling area off northern Namibia (located at 17.3°S and water depth ranging between 26 and 117 m) showed the concentration of dissolved oxygen and the accumulation of organic-rich sediments to control macrozoobenthic community patterns. In contrast to highly biodiverse nearshore areas with well-structured shell deposits of the brachiopod Discinisca tenuis (Sowerby 1847), the benthic community in the oxygen minimum zone (OMZ) decreased strongly in species numbers. Nevertheless, a well-established community ranging from 13 to 31 species persisted. Species densities (300–3,350 ind m−2) and biomass (4–109 g afdw/m2) were surprisingly high for areas with near bottom oxygen concentrations from 0.06 to 0.88 ml l−1. In contrast to OMZ’s of other upwelling areas, where the benthic macrofauna is generally dominated by small-bodied polychaetes, off Namibia larger key organisms like the bivalve Nuculana bicuspidata (Gould 1845) and the snail Nassarius vinctus (Marrett 1877) accounted for a large proportion of the macrozoobenthos >1 mm. This is supposed to have a distinct effect on the functional properties of the sediments.


Bottom Water Polychaete Angola Oxygen Minimum Zone Shell Deposit 
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 thank Dr. U. Struck (Berlin), Dr. V. Mohrholz (Rostock), U. Hehl (Rostock), M. Römer (Hamburg) and C. Berg (Rostock) for assistance during sampling at RV Maria S. Merian. We are thankful to the team of Physical Oceanography of our Institute (e.g. S. Krüger) for assistance in CTD measurements. We wish also to thank I. Glockzin and A. Hagenmeier (both Rostock) for analysis of benthic samples in the laboratory. Provision of additional taxonomical assistance was provided by W. Massier (Swakopmund), Prof. M. Hollmann (Bochum) and M. Huber (Zürich), we are mostly grateful to their support and expertise. We would like to express our gratitude to Silvana Birchenough (Suffolk) for helping to smooth our English.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Lothar Zettler
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ralf Bochert
    • 1
  • Falk Pollehne
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyLeibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research (IOW)WarnemuendeGermany

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