Quantitative analysis of soft-bottom polychaetes of the Bellingshausen Sea and Gerlache Strait (Antarctica)

Abstract

The basin off the Bellingshausen Sea, in contrast to other better known areas such as the Antarctic Peninsula and the Ross and Weddell Seas, has been little investigated due to remoteness and the prevalence of ice for most of the year. The present study focuses on an analysis of polychaetes collected from soft bottoms of this sea and off the west coast of the Antarctic Peninsula (Gerlache Strait) by means of a box-corer (25 × 25 cm) in two intensive surveys carried out during austral summers of 2002–2003 and 2005–2006 (BENTART-03 and BENTART-06). Three different polychaete assemblages were determined from the classification and ordination analyses of sampling stations based on the Bray-Curtis similarity index. One group of stations encompassed the deep stations from the shelf of the Bellingshausen Sea, the second one the shallower stations from the same area and the third one those stations located near the coast of Peter I Island and Gerlache Strait, off the Antarctic Peninsula. The environmental variables involved in segregating these groups were several sedimentary features (redox potential, gravel content) and depth. The present study provides further support to previous ones that considered the shelf of the Bellingshausen Sea as a differentiated region within the Southern Ocean, clearly distinct to the adjacent Weddell and Scott Seas and the Antarctic Peninsula.

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Acknowledgments

The present study was financially supported by the Spanish Ministerio de Ciencia y Tecnología through the research projects “Estudio integrado de la biodiversidad bentónica del mar de Bellingshausen y península Antártica (Antártida del Oeste). Primera campaña de muestreo a bordo del B/O Hespérides (REN2001-1074/ANT)” and “Estudio integrado de la biodiversidad bentónica del mar de Bellingshausen y península Antártica. Segunda campaña de muestreo a bordo del B/O Hespérides (CGL2004/01856)”. The authors wish to express their gratitude to C. Aldea (UVigo, Spain) for the elaboration of the map, to J. Moreira (USC, Spain) for the identification of the Sphaerodorid species and comments on an earlier version of the manuscript and to the colleagues of the BENTART project and to the crew of R/V Hespérides, for their collaboration onboard the ship. We thank also Brigitte Ebbe (Senckenberg Institut, Germany), Myriam Schüller (Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany) and a third anonymous referee for their helpful comments concerning the manuscript. The help of Greg Rouse (Scripps Institution of Oceanography, USA) improving the English in an earlier version of the manuscript is also appreciated.

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Appendix

Appendix

Table 7.

Table 7 Polychaete species identified from the box-corer samples in the BENTART-2003 and 2006 cruises in the Bellingshausen Sea and Gerlache Strait

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Parapar, J., López, E., Gambi, M.C. et al. Quantitative analysis of soft-bottom polychaetes of the Bellingshausen Sea and Gerlache Strait (Antarctica). Polar Biol 34, 715–730 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00300-010-0927-4

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Keywords

  • Polychaetes
  • Soft bottoms
  • Benthos
  • Box-corer
  • Distribution
  • BENTART cruises
  • Antarctica