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Differences in the carbon flows in the benthic food webs of abyssal hill and plain habitats
Durden, J.M.; Ruhl, H.A.; Pebody, C.; Blackbird, S.J.; Van Oevelen, D. (2017). Differences in the carbon flows in the benthic food webs of abyssal hill and plain habitats. Limnol. Oceanogr. 62(4): 1771-1782.
In: Limnology and Oceanography. American Society of Limnology and Oceanography: Waco, Tex., etc. ISSN 0024-3590; e-ISSN 1939-5590, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Durden, J.M.
  • Ruhl, H.A.
  • Pebody, C.
  • Blackbird, S.J.
  • Van Oevelen, D., more

    Inputs of detritus from the surface ocean are an important driver of community dynamics in the deep sea.The assessment of the flow of carbon through the benthic food web gives insight into how the community issustained, and its resilience to fluctuations in food supply. We used a linear inverse model to compare the carbonflow through the food webs on an abyssal hill and the nearby plain at the Porcupine Abyssal Plain sustainedobservatory (4850 m water depth; northeast Atlantic), to examine the partitioning of detrital input inthese substantially different megafaunal communities. We found minimal variation in carbon flows at the plainover two years, but differences in the detrital inputs and in the processing of that carbon input between the hilland plain habitats. Suspension feeding dominated metazoan carbon processing on the hill, removing nearly alllabile detritus input to the system. By contrast, half of all labile detritus was deposited and available for depositfeeders on the abyssal plain. This suggests that the biomass on the hill is dependent on a more variable carbonsupply than the plain. The presence of millions of abyssal hills globally suggests that the high benthic biomassand respiration, and reduced deposition of detritus may be pervasive, albeit with varying intensity.

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