The metazoan meiobenthos along the continental slope of the Goban Spur (NE Atlantic) was studied in the framework of the OMEX-programme (EC-MAST II). Meiobenthic densities, the vertical distribution of the meiobenthos in the sediment, and the biomass and generic composition of the dominant group, the nematodes, were investigated at different water depths. The meiobenthic communities along the depth gradient of the continental slope followed the usual trends: the communities were dominated by nematodes, and meiobenthic densities, total nematode biomass, and mean individual nematode weight decreased with increasing water depth. The shelf station had significantly higher densities, rematode biomass and mean individual weight than the deeper stations. The nematode communities along the OMEX slope were divided into a 'shelf break' community (206 m) and a 'down slope' community (1034- 2760 m), with the station at 670 m depth as a transition station. It is suggested that the changes in the nematode community composition along the slope of the Goban Spur are related to the amount of oxygen (and the presence/absence of an oxic mineralisation pathway) in the sediment. The meiobenthos tended to be more concentrated towards the sediment surface with increasing water depth. [KEYWORDS: meiobenthos; ocean margin; nematodes Deep-sea nematodes; species-diversity; shelf break; vertical-distribution; north-carolina; abyssal sites; assemblages; meiofauna; ecology; biomass]
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Sea Research
Journal publication date1997

ID: 397223