eCite Digital Repository

History of benthic colonisation beneath the Amery Ice Shelf, East Antarctica


Post, AL and Hemer, MA and O'Brien, PE and Roberts, D and Craven, M, History of benthic colonisation beneath the Amery Ice Shelf, East Antarctica, Marine Ecology Progress Series, 344, (23 August 2007) pp. 29-37. ISSN 0171-8630 (2007) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.3354/meps06966


This study presents compelling evidence for a diverse and abundant seabed community that developed over the course of the Holocene beneath the Amery Ice Shelf, East Antarctica. Fossil analysis of a 47 cm long sediment core revealed a rich modern fauna dominated by filter feeders (sponges and bryozoans). The down-core assemblage indicated a succession in the colonisation of this site. The lower portion of the core (before ∼9600 yr BP) was completely devoid of preserved fauna. The first colonisers (at ∼10 200 yr BP) were mobile benthic organisms. Their occurrence was matched by the first appearance of planktonic taxa, indicating a retreat of the ice shelf following the last glaciation to within sufficient distance to advect planktonic particles via bottom currents. The benthic infauna and filter feeders emerged during the peak abundance of the planktonic organisms, indicating their dependence on the food supply sourced from the open shelf waters of Prydz Bay. Understanding patterns of species succession in this environment has important implications for determining the potential significance of future ice shelf collapse. © Inter-Research 2007.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology)
Objective Division:Environmental Policy, Climate Change and Natural Hazards
Objective Group:Understanding climate change
Objective Field:Climate variability (excl. social impacts)
UTAS Author:Roberts, D (Dr Donna Roberts)
UTAS Author:Craven, M (Mr Mike Craven)
ID Code:50242
Year Published:2007
Web of Science® Times Cited:25
Deposited By:IASOS
Deposited On:2007-08-01
Last Modified:2010-06-04

Repository Staff Only: item control page