Not to be Sneezed at: Does Pollen from Forests of Exotic Pine Affect Deep Oceanic Trench Ecosystems?
Pollen is ubiquitous in nearshore marine sediments; however, its potential importance for food-limited deep-seabed communities remains unknown. Here we report on the distribution of pollen to depths of 10,800 m in two Southwest Pacific trenches, as well as relationships between pollen concentrations and the sediment fauna. Pine (Pinus radiata) pollen, most likely originating from extensive plantations in New Zealand, was common in all sediment samples. These pine plantations may have altered the flux of terrestrially derived organic matter to vast stretches of the deep sea, with potential consequences for carbon sequestration and food availability. There was a significant, positive correlation between pine pollen and the abundance of infauna, which were greatest at the 7000-m-deep site in the Kermadec Trench and 10,800-m site in the Tonga Trench. This finding, together with the occurrence of pine pollen in unicellular organisms (gromiids), shows for the first time that pollen may represent food source for deep-sea benthic organisms.
KeywordsPinus radiata Cyathea spores meiofauna biomass Kermadec Trench Tonga Trench food web carbon
Funding for this project was provided by NIWA’s Coasts and Oceans Centre Research programme ‘Marine Biological Resources’, by the New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), and through NIWA’s research programme ‘Impact of resource use on vulnerable deep-sea communities’ (CO1X0906). We are grateful to Tim Shank (WHOI, USA), and the other principal investigators of the HADES project (HADal Ecosystem Studies, funded by the National Science Foundation, NSF-OCE 1130712, 1130494, and 1131620), to the officers, crew, and scientific personnel of RV Thomas G. Thompson (voyage TN309), and ROV Nereus engineers and technicians. We also thank Hiroshi Kitazato (JAMSTEC, Japan) the leader of the RV Yokosuka voyage YK13-10 and thank the officers, crew, and scientific personnel of that voyage. We are indebted to Matteo Ichino (National Oceanography Centre and University of Southampton, UK) for calculating and supplying the data for relative elevation at the study sites. We are very grateful to Scott Nodder (NIWA) for his support, Gustav Kessel for analysing pollen samples, Kevin Mackay (NIWA) for his help in preparing Figure 1, and Joe Prebble (Geological and Nuclear Sciences) for his advice. We are grateful to two anonymous reviewers for providing constructive criticisms on the manuscript.
- Anderson MJ, Gorley RN, Clarke KR. 2008. PERMANOVA + for PRIMER: guide to software and statistical methods. Plymouth: PRIMER-E.Google Scholar
- Belyaev GM. 1966. Bottom fauna of the ultra-abyssal depths of the world ocean. Akad Nauk SSSR, Trudy Inst Okeanol 103:259–80.Google Scholar
- Belyaev GM. 1989. Deep-sea ocean trenches and their fauna. Moscow: Nauka Publishing House.Google Scholar
- Burdon RD. 2000. Pinus radiata. In: Last FT, Ed. Ecosystems of the world, vol. 19, Tree crops. Ch. 5. Amsterdam: Elsevier. p 99–161.Google Scholar
- Czeczuga BE, Muszynska E. 2001. Zoosporic fungi growing on gymnosperm pollen in water of varied trophic state. Pol J Environ Stud 10:89–94.Google Scholar
- Feller RJ, Warwick RM. 1988. Energetics. In: Higgins RP, Thiel H, Eds. Introduction to the study of meiofauna. Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press. p 181–96.Google Scholar
- Greenfield LG. 1996. Plant pollen production in selected tree species. Canterb Bot Soc J 31:10–13.Google Scholar
- Ichino MC, Clark MR, Drazen JC, Jamieson A, Jones DOB, Martin AP, Rowden AA, Shank TM, Yancey PH, Ruhl HA. 2015. The distribution of benthic biomass in hadal trenches: a modelling approach to investigate the effect of vertical and lateral organic matter transport to the seafloor. Deep-Sea Res I 100:21–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Lavery PB, Mead DJ. 1998. Pinus radiata: a narrow endemic from North America takes on the world. In: Richardson DM, Ed. Ecology and biogeography of pinus. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p 432–49.Google Scholar
- Lewis NB, Ferguson IS, Sutton WRJ, Donald DGM, Lisboa HB. 1993. Management of radiata pine. North Ryde: Inkata Press Pty Ltd/Butterworth-Heinemann. p 404.Google Scholar
- Murashima T, Nakajoh H, Takami H, Yamauchi N, Miura A, Ishizuka T. 2009. 11,000 m class free fall mooring system. Proceedings of OCEANS 2009-EUROPE, 2009. pp 1–5.Google Scholar
- Robbins EI, Cuomo MC, Haberyan KA, Mudie PJ, Chen YY, Head E. 1996. Fecal pellets. In: Jansonius J, McGregor DD, Eds. Palynology: Principles and Applications, Vol. 3. Irving: AASP Foundation. p 1085–97.Google Scholar
- Shirayama Y. 1984. Vertical distribution of meiobenthos in the sediment profile in bathyal, abyssal and hadal deep sea systems of the Western pacific. Oceanol Acta 7:123–9.Google Scholar
- Somerfield PJ, Warwick RM. 1996. Meiofauna in marine pollution monitoring programmes: a laboratory manual. Lowestoft: Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. p 71.Google Scholar
- Stanley EA. 1969. Marine palynology. Annu Rev Oceanogr Mar Biol 7:277–92.Google Scholar
- Vanreusel A, Vincx M, Schram D, van Gansbeke D. 1995. On the vertical distribution of th metazoan Meiofauna in shelf break and upper slope habitats of th NE Atlantic. Hydrobiology 80:313–26.Google Scholar