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In-situ observations of an intact natural whale fall in Palmer deep, Western Antarctic Peninsula
Bolstad, R.; Amsler, O.; De Broyer, C.; Komoda, M.; Iwasaki, H. (2023). In-situ observations of an intact natural whale fall in Palmer deep, Western Antarctic Peninsula. Polar Biol. 46: 123-132.
In: Polar Biology. Springer-Verlag: Berlin; Heidelberg. ISSN 0722-4060; e-ISSN 1432-2056, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 

    Balaenoptera Lacépède, 1804 [WoRMS]; Balaenoptera bonaerensis Burmeister, 1867 [WoRMS]
Author keywords
    Whale fall; Antarctic; Deep-sea; Ecology; Submersible; Balaenoptera

Authors  Top 
  • Bolstad, K.S.R.
  • Amsler, M.O.
  • De Broyer, C., more
  • Komoda, M.
  • Iwasaki, H.

    Whale carcasses on the seafloor support unique, ephemeral communities of organisms, and ‘natural’ whale fall sites are infrequently encountered, especially in polar regions. During a manned submersible dive in early 2017, we discovered the skeleton of an Antarctic minke whale (Balaenoptera bonaerensis) at 963 m in Palmer Deep, in the Western Antarctic Peninsula. The site was filmed in HD for approximately two hours, enabling visual identification of representatives from at least eight phyla, although physical sampling was not possible. The remains appeared to be in the late ‘enrichment–opportunistic’ phase (although some mobile scavengers were still present and some sulfonic activity had already commenced), with polychaetes of the order Aciculata, and family Ampharetidae, plus several amphipod species, most abundant. Novel eusirid amphipod and rhodaliid siphonophore taxa were also present. The observed faunal distribution suggests patterns consistent with reports from other Antarctic whale falls (both experimental and natural). This discovery represents the highest-latitude natural whale fall reported to date.

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