Ocean Science Journal

, Volume 53, Issue 2, pp 315–336 | Cite as

Distribution and Variability of the Meiobenthic Assemblages near the Korean Polymetallic Nodule Claim Area of the Clarion-Clipperton Fracture Zone (Subequatorial NE Pacific)

  • Won-Gi Min
  • Dongsung KimEmail author
  • Hyun Soo Rho
  • Sang Bum Chi
  • Seung-Kyu Son
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Deep Seabed Mining Resources


This study was carried out as part of a baseline long-term environmental project in the proposed mining areas for an environmental impact assessment of future mining in the Clarion-Clipperton Fracture Zone (CCFZ). The community structure and distributional pattern of meiobenthos were investigated in the deep-sea bottom of the Clarion-Clipperton Fracture Zone of the northeastern Pacific in July 1998, 1999, 2001, 2003 and August 2004, 2005. Twenty one meiobenthic groups were found at the stations in the study area. The most abundant meiobenthos comprised nematodes followed by benthic foraminiferans and harpacticoid copepods. The maximum density of meiobenthos was 306 ind/10 cm2 at the station located at 11°N (water depth, 4833 m), and the minimum density was 6 ind/10 cm2 at the station located at 14°N (water depth, 5037 m). Oligotrophic conditions in the CCFZ seem to directly reflect the lower standing stocks of meiobenthos in the CCFZ compared to other deep-sea plains of similar depth. The latitudinal distribution pattern of meiobenthos in the study area seemed to be related with surface water primary productivity, which was connected to the water circulation pattern of the Pacific Ocean near the Equator, diverging at 8ºN latitude and converging at 5°N. The horizontal distribution of meiobenthic organisms in the study area showed high densities at the stations within 135–136°W. The densities of meiobenthic organismas within the CCFZ were high at stations with few manganese nodules on the sediment surface at low-latitude sites. In 1998, the observed relative high values of meiobenthic abundance were at stations from 5° to 6°N. Other stations from 7° to 10°N showed no significant fluctuations during the interannual sampling periods. It is considered that the inter-annual fluctuation of meiobenthos abundance is intimately related with a regime shift that may have occurred in the north Pacific between 1998 and 1999, the El Niño period. Vertical distribution of meiobenthic organisms showed the highest individual numbers in the surface sediment layers of 0∼2 cm depth and a steep decreasing trend as sediment becomes deeper at the stations of high latitude located in 16∼17°N. Size distribution analyses showed that organisms that fit into the sieve mesh size of 0.063 mm were abundant.


meiobenthos nematodes abundance northeastern Pacific deep sea sediment Clarion–Clipperton fracture zone 


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Copyright information

© Korea Institute of Ocean Science & Technology (KIOST) and the Korean Society of Oceanography (KSO) and Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Won-Gi Min
    • 1
  • Dongsung Kim
    • 2
    Email author
  • Hyun Soo Rho
    • 3
  • Sang Bum Chi
    • 4
  • Seung-Kyu Son
    • 4
  1. 1.Ulleungdo-Dokdo Ocean Science StationKIOSTUlleungKorea
  2. 2.Marine Ecosystem and Biological Research CenterKIOSTBusanKorea
  3. 3.Dokdo Research Center, East Sea Research InstituteKIOSTUljinKorea
  4. 4.Deep-sea and Seabed Mineral Resources Research CenterKIOSTBusanKorea

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