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  1. Vermeij, Geerat J. (Ed.)
    Continental margins host methane seeps, animal falls and wood falls, with chemosynthetic communities that may share or exchange species. The goal of this study was to examine the existence and nature of linkages among chemosynthesis-based ecosystems by deploying organic fall mimics (bone and wood) alongside defaunated carbonate rocks within high and lesser levels of seepage activity for 7.4 years. We compared community composition, density, and trophic structure of invertebrates on these hard substrates at active methane seepage and transition (less seepage) sites at Mound 12 at ~1,000 m depth, a methane seep off the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. At transition sites, the community composition on wood and bone was characteristic of natural wood- and whale-fall community composition, which rely on decay of the organic substrates. However, at active sites, seepage activity modified the relationship between fauna and substrate, seepage activity had a stronger effect in defining and homogenizing these communities and they depend less on organic decay. In contrast to community structure, macrofaunal trophic niche overlap between substrates, based on standard ellipse areas, was greater at transition sites than at active sites, except between rock and wood. Our observations suggest that whale- and wood-fall substrates can function as steppingmore »stones for seep fauna even at later successional stages, providing hard substrate for attachment and chemosynthetic food.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 20, 2023
  2. Stomatopoda, commonly known as mantis shrimps, are notable for their enlarged second maxillipeds encompassing the raptorial claw. The form of the claw can be used to divide them into two basic groups: smashers and spearers. Previous phylogenetic studies of Stomatopoda have focused on morphology or a few genes, though there have been whole mitochondrial genomes published for 15 members of Stomatopoda. However, the sampling has been somewhat limited with key taxa not included. Here, nine additional stomatopod mitochondrial genomes were generated and combined with the other available mitogenomes for a phylogenetic analysis. We used the 13 protein coding genes, as well as 12S rRNA, 16S rRNA genes, and included nuclear 18S rRNA gene sequences. Different rooting options were used for the analyses: (1) single and multiple outgroups from various eumalocostracan relatives and (2) a stomatopod-only dataset, with Hemisquilla californiensis used to root the topologies, based on the current hypothesis that Hemisquilla is the sister group to the rest of Stomatopoda. The eumalocostracan-rooted analyses all showed H. californiensis nested within Stomatopoda, raising doubts as to previous hypotheses as to its placement. Allowing for the rooting difference, the H. californiensis outgroup datasets had the same tree topology as the eumalocostracan outgroup datasetsmore »with slight variation at poorly supported nodes. Of the major taxonomic groupings sampled to date, Squilloidea was generally found to be monophyletic while Gonodactyloidea was not. The position of H. californiensis was found inside its superfamily, Gonodactyloidea, and grouped in a weakly supported clade containing Odontodactylus havanensis and Lysiosquillina maculata for the eumalocostracan-rooted datasets. An ancestral state reconstruction was performed on the raptorial claw form and provides support that spearing is the ancestral state for extant Stomatopoda, with smashing evolving subsequently one or more times.« less
  3. As biodiversity loss accelerates globally, understanding environmental influence over biodiversity–ecosystem functioning (BEF) relationships becomes crucial for ecosystem management. Theory suggests that resource supply affects the shape of BEF relationships, but this awaits detailed investigation in marine ecosystems. Here, we use deep-sea chemosynthetic methane seeps and surrounding sediments as natural laboratories in which to contrast relationships between BEF proxies along with a gradient of trophic resource availability (higher resource methane seep, to lower resource photosynthetically fuelled deep-sea habitats). We determined sediment fauna taxonomic and functional trait biodiversity, and quantified bioturbation potential (BPc), calcification degree, standing stock and density as ecosystem functioning proxies. Relationships were strongly unimodal in chemosynthetic seep habitats, but were undetectable in transitional ‘chemotone’ habitats and photosynthetically dependent deep-sea habitats. In seep habitats, ecosystem functioning proxies peaked below maximum biodiversity, perhaps suggesting that a small number of specialized species are important in shaping this relationship. This suggests that absolute biodiversity is not a good metric of ecosystem ‘value’ at methane seeps, and that these deep-sea environments may require special management to maintain ecosystem functioning under human disturbance. We promote further investigation of BEF relationships in non-traditional resource environments and emphasize that deep-sea conservation should consider ‘functioning hotspots' alongside biodiversitymore »hotspots.« less
  4. The bathyal serpulid Laminatubus alvini ten Hove & Zibrowius, 1986 was described from the periphery of hydrothermal vents of the Galapagos Rift and has been recorded from other vent communities of the East Pacific Rise (EPR). Here we assessed the biodiversity of serpulids collected from eastern Pacific hydrothermal vents and methane seeps using DNA sequences and morphology. Laminatubus alvini showed little genetic variation over a wide geographic range from the Alarcon Rise vents in southern Gulf of California (~23°N), to at least a point at 38°S on the EPR. Specimens from several methane seeps off Costa Rica and the Gulf of California (Mexico) differed markedly from those of Laminatubus alvini on DNA sequence data and in having seven thoracic chaetigers and lacking Spirobranchus-type special collar chaetae, thus fitting the diagnosis of Neovermilia. However, phylogenetic analysis of molecular data showed that L. alvini and the seep specimens form a well-supported clade. Moreover, among the seep specimens there was minimally a ~7% distance in mitochondrial cytochrome b sequences between a shallow-water (1000 m) seep clade restricted to Costa Rica and a deep-water clade (1800 m) from Costa Rica to Gulf of California. We describe the seep taxa here as morphologically indistinguishable L.more »paulbrooksi n. sp. and L. joycebrooksae n. sp.« less
  5. Benthic animals profoundly influence the cycling and storage of carbon and other elements in marine systems, particularly in coastal sediments. Recent climate change has altered the distribution and abundance of many seafloor taxa and modified the vertical exchange of materials between ocean and sediment layers. Here, we examine how climate change could alter animal-mediated biogeochemical cycling in ocean sediments. The fossil record shows repeated major responses from the benthos during mass extinctions and global carbon perturbations, including reduced diversity, dominance of simple trace fossils, decreased burrow size and bioturbation intensity, and nonrandom extinction of trophic groups. The broad dispersal capacity of many extant benthic species facilitates poleward shifts corresponding to their environmental niche as overlying water warms. Evidence suggests that locally persistent populations will likely respond to environmental shifts through either failure to respond or genetic adaptation rather than via phenotypic plasticity. Regional and global ocean models insufficiently integrate changes in benthic biological activity and their feedbacks on sedimentary biogeochemical processes. The emergence of bioturbation, ventilation, and seafloor-habitat maps and progress in our mechanistic understanding of organism–sediment interactions enable incorporation of potential effects of climate change on benthic macrofaunal mediation of elemental cycles into regional and global ocean biogeochemical models.
  6. The discovery of four undescribed flabelligerid species from deep-water in Pacific Costa Rica resulted in the restriction of Diplocirrus Haase, 1915. As currently understood, Diplocirrus and Pherusa Oken, 1807 are separated after their morphological pattern. The species belonging in Diplocirrus have two types of branchiae, poorly developed cephalic cages and multiarticulate neurochaetae, whereas Pherusa species have branchiae of one type, well-developed cephalic cages and completely anchylosed neurochaetae. Benthic sampling and processing usually damage cephalic cages and if chaetae are completely broken, one could regard specimens without them, when they actually have it, but lost after sieving. Sampling using Alvin deep-sea submarine at methane seeps off Costa Rica resulted in some well-preserved specimens, and some of them fall between these two genera because they have well developed cephalic cages, and multiarticulate neurochaetae. Saphobranchia Chamberlin, 1919, with Stylarioides longisetosa von Marenzeller, 1890, as type species, is herein reinstated for some species previously included in Diplocirrus, restricted. The transferred species, including three ones newly described herein, have branchiae of a single type, long cephalic cage and body chaetae, and neurochaetae basally anchylosed and medially and distally articulated; some species currently included in Diplocirrus described from Arctic or deep water sediments are transferred intomore »it. A key to identify all species in Saphobranchia, and another key to identify species in the restricted Diplocirrus are also included. The three new Saphobranchia species are S. canela n. sp., S. ilys n. sp. and S. omorpha n. sp. The fourth species belongs in Lamispina Salazar-Vallejo, 2014, and it is herein described as L. polycerata n. sp. after the presence of some long papillae along anterior margin of chaetiger 1.« less
  7. The ocean plays a crucial role in the functioning of the Earth System and in the provision of vital goods and services. The United Nations (UN) declared 2021–2030 as the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. The Roadmap for the Ocean Decade aims to achieve six critical societal outcomes (SOs) by 2030, through the pursuit of four objectives (Os). It specifically recognizes the scarcity of biological data for deep-sea biomes, and challenges the global scientific community to conduct research to advance understanding of deep-sea ecosystems to inform sustainable management. In this paper, we map four key scientific questions identified by the academic community to the Ocean Decade SOs: (i) What is the diversity of life in the deep ocean? (ii) How are populations and habitats connected? (iii) What is the role of living organisms in ecosystem function and service provision? and (iv) How do species, communities, and ecosystems respond to disturbance? We then consider the design of a global-scale program to address these questions by reviewing key drivers of ecological pattern and process. We recommend using the following criteria to stratify a global survey design: biogeographic region, depth, horizontal distance, substrate type, high and low climate hazard, fished/unfished,more »near/far from sources of pollution, licensed/protected from industry activities. We consider both spatial and temporal surveys, and emphasize new biological data collection that prioritizes southern and polar latitudes, deeper (> 2000 m) depths, and midwater environments. We provide guidance on observational, experimental, and monitoring needs for different benthic and pelagic ecosystems. We then review recent efforts to standardize biological data and specimen collection and archiving, making “sampling design to knowledge application” recommendations in the context of a new global program. We also review and comment on needs, and recommend actions, to develop capacity in deep-sea research; and the role of inclusivity - from accessing indigenous and local knowledge to the sharing of technologies - as part of such a global program. We discuss the concept of a new global deep-sea biological research program ‘ Challenger 150 ,’ highlighting what it could deliver for the Ocean Decade and UN Sustainable Development Goal 14.« less