Quantitative analysis of soft-bottom molluscs in the Bellingshausen Sea and around Peter I Island
AbstractMacrobenthic soft-bottom molluscs were sampled in 30 stations located in the Bellingshausen Sea at depths ranging from 90 to 3304 m. The samples were collected using a quantitative grab box-corer during the cruises BENTART 03, from 24 January to 3 March 2003, and BENTART 06, from 2 January to 16 February 2006. Molluscs represent 1074 specimens belonging to 62 species of Polyplacophora, Gastropoda, Bivalvia and Scaphopoda. The bivalve Cyamiocardium denticulatum was the most abundant species (448 specimens). The abundance per station varied between 1 and 446 specimens. The Shannon–Wiener diversity index ranged between one specimen and 2.36, the Pielou evenness index ranged between 0.00 and 1 and species richness ranged from 1 to 14 species. Diversity showed great variations at different stations. After multivariate analysis (cluster analysis and nonmetrical multidimensional scaling) based on Bray–Curtis similarities, we were able to separate two principal clusters. The first cluster groups together species from shallower bottoms near Peter I Island and the Antarctic Peninsula, and the second cluster groups together species from deeper bottoms in the Bellingshausen Sea. The combination of environmental variables with the highest correlations with faunistic data was that of depth and coarse sand at the surface.
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