Wood-associated fauna collected during the KuramBio expedition in the North West Pacific
Schwabe, E and Bartsch, I and Blazewicz-Paszkowycz, M and Brenke, N and Chernyshev, AV and Elsner, NO and Fischer, V and Jazdzewska, A and Malyutina, MV and Miljutin, D and Miljutina, M and Kamenev, GM and Karanovic, I and Maiorova, A and Wurzburg, L, Wood-associated fauna collected during the KuramBio expedition in the North West Pacific, Deep-Sea Research. Part 2, 111 pp. 376-388. ISSN 0967-0645 (2015) [Refereed Article]
Individual wood fragments obtained from Agassiz trawl samples in the abyssal plain area off the Kuril–Kamchatka Trench were analysed for faunistic components. Out of seven pieces of wood collected, only five harboured fauna and each showed distinctively different colonization patterns. In total, 257 specimens, mainly belonging to the phyla Arthropoda, Nematoda, Mollusca and Annelida, were collected from the available pieces of wood. While wood-boring bivalves of the genus Xylophaga, generally seen as opportunists among wood-converting organisms, were present at nearly all stations, the overwhelming majority of taxa found were restricted to individual pieces of wood. A fresh piece of wood from a site opposite to the Tsugaru Strait, was the most heavily colonized. The presence of shallow or even putative fresh-water taxa beside truly deep-water components possibly suggests a recent sinking of that particular wood fragment and demonstrates the role of such ephemeral organic objects in deep-sea ecosystems as energy-rich feeding grounds and potential distributional stepping stones. Detailed studies of driftwood communities on single sunken wood fragments from deep oceans are limited. The present data not only demonstrate a tolerance of some taxa to changes in physical parameters, such as hydrostatic pressure, salinity and temperature, but also indicate a higher biodiversity on fresher wood pieces compared to wood which already underwent decomposition processes. It is, however, not clear whether the species diversity was linked to the type of wood, since exhaustive analyses on the wood pieces themselves were not conducted.