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Deep-sea temperate-tropical faunal transition across uniform environmental gradients


O'Hara, TD and Williams, A and Wooley, SNC and Nau, AW and Bax, NJ, Deep-sea temperate-tropical faunal transition across uniform environmental gradients, Deep-Sea Research. Part 1, 161 Article 103283. ISSN 0967-0637 (2020) [Refereed Article]

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Crown Copyright 2020 Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.dsr.2020.103283


The biogeography of the deep-sea benthic fauna is uncertain due to the vast size and incomplete exploration of these environments. While shallow water assemblages are differentiated into tropical, temperate and polar faunas, it is unknown whether these units extend to lower depths. Here we use model-based and multivariate statistics to analyse megafaunal benthic samples along a 2300 km transect off the eastern Australian continental margin. We show that a temperate-tropical transition between 33-30S occurs at both lower bathyal (~2500 m) and abyssal (~4000 m) depths. This transition occurs despite almost uniform temperature, salinity and dissolved oxygen concentrations occurring across latitudes at these depths. Conversely, the patterns are consistent with the flux of organic matter to the seafloor, which varies from being relatively high in the productive temperate off SE Australia to low levels in more-oligotrophic tropical waters. Biodiversity is not uniform across the deep-sea and regional-scale heterogeneity needs to be incorporated into marine park designs.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:megafauna, benthos, Tasman sea, Australia, continental margins, abyss
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Palaeoecology
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Terrestrial systems and management
Objective Field:Assessment and management of terrestrial ecosystems
UTAS Author:Bax, NJ (Professor Nicholas Bax)
ID Code:139559
Year Published:2020
Web of Science® Times Cited:3
Deposited By:Ecology and Biodiversity
Deposited On:2020-06-22
Last Modified:2021-02-03

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