Ichnodiversity and bathymetric range of microbioerosion traces in polar barnacles of Svalbard

Keywords: Bioerosion, ichnotaxonomy, ichnodisparity, Arctic, Mosselbukta, Bjørnøy-Banken


This first comprehensive investigation of microbioerosion traces in polar barnacles addresses two bathymetrical transects from the intertidal down to subtidal water depths in two different carbonate factories in the Svalbard Archipelago: the bay Mosselbukta and the ocean bank Bjørnøy-Banken. Scanning electron microscopy of epoxy resin casts of barnacle shells yielded 20 different microendolithic bioerosion traces, probably produced by cyanobacteria (three), chlorophytes (two), rhodophytes (one), sponges (one), foraminifera (three), fungi (nine) and bacteria (one). The lowest ichnodiversity in both locations was observed in the shallow euphotic zone and is likely a result of strong temperature fluctuations, extreme seasonality of light levels and episodic sea-ice cover. At 25–150 m water depth, the ichnodiversity remains relatively constant (9–13 ichnospecies), albeit with differing ichnospecies composition, generally dominated by borings from chlorophytes and fungi. Ichnotaxa at Mosselbukta and Bjørnøy-Banken were similar in numbers but differed in abundance and slightly also in ichnospecies composition. Statistical tests indicate that water depth (affecting the availability of light) is the most significant driver for the development of different microbioerosion trace assemblages across the bathymetrical transects. In contrast, no significant differences in ichnodisparity were found, indicating a comparable suite of architectural designs of the micro-borings throughout bathymetry and location. The comparison of our results with literature data confirms a decrease in ichnodiversity from lower to higher latitudes, although targeted bioerosion analyses from other polar environments are needed to gain a more complete picture of the role of bioerosion in polar carbonate factories.


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How to Cite
Meyer N., Wisshak M., & Freiwald A. (2020). Ichnodiversity and bathymetric range of microbioerosion traces in polar barnacles of Svalbard. Polar Research, 39. https://doi.org/10.33265/polar.v39.3766
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