Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Submarine canyons a source of marine invertebrate diversity, abundance

Date:
August 27, 2013
Source:
University of Hawaii at Manoa
Summary:
Submarine canyons play an important role in maintaining high levels of biodiversity of small invertebrates in the seafloor sediments of the main and northwestern Hawaiian Islands, according to new research. What's more, scientists have used this data to draw new connections between the levels of faunal diversity and the heterogeneity of submarine canyon landscapes at various spatial scales.

Researchers sampled diversity in Hawaii's submarine canyons, including these off Kaneohe Bay.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Hawaii at Manoa

Submarine canyons play an important role in maintaining high levels of biodiversity of small invertebrates in the seafloor sediments of the main and northwestern Hawaiian Islands, according to research from the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa.

Related Articles


What's more, scientists have used this data to draw new connections between the levels of faunal diversity and the heterogeneity of submarine canyon landscapes at various spatial scales.

"Submarine canyons encompass myriad habitat types," said Fabio C. De Leo, a doctoral graduate from UH Mānoa's department of oceanography and the lead author on a new paper that was recently published in the scientific journal Deep Sea Research Part II. "This heterogeneity at the landscape-scale helps to enhance local biodiversity in canyon seafloor sediments."

De Leo and colleagues, including oceanography professor Craig Smith, the study's principal investigator (PI), conducted 34 submersible dives into six underwater canyons and their nearby slopes. Plumbing depths of up to 1,500 meters (~5,000 feet), their study area ranged across the Hawaiian archipelago, from the main Hawaiian Islands through Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.

The scientists evaluated and mapped landscape metrics of each canyon habitat, including the roughness of the seafloor and the steepness of canyon walls. At depths of 350, 650, and 1,000 meters in each location, they collected sediment core samples on the canyon floor. From these samples, they carefully sorted out and identified all of the marine organisms called macrobenthos -- including worms, clams and shrimp-like crustaceans -- that range in size from a millimeter to several centimeters. The scientists then correlated the macrobenthos species data with the landscape metrics.

The scientists found that submarine canyons can serve as species oases in the sea by channeling ocean currents, capturing and trapping sinking particles, funneling migrating animals, and generally providing a varied physical landscape. As a result, canyons promote high species diversity.

Researchers say this is the first study of its kind to thoroughly examine submarine canyons on island margins. The research effort had previously yielded reports of high species diversity of fish and large invertebrates, the so-called megafauna, in Hawai'i's submarine canyons. This corroboration led them to conclude: "Canyons may be particularly important in the Hawaiian islands, in part because they supply organic matter to the typically food-limited deep sea," De Leo said. "When there's more food, there's more life."

One thing that became evident from this study was that canyons near the main Hawaiian islands tended to collect and hold much more land-based organic matter than canyons in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Materials such as branches, leaves, nuts and algae were abundant off Moloka'i and O'ahu, washed into the ocean by rain and carried out deep onto the canyon floors by ocean currents. These decomposing materials, scarcer in the islands of Nihoa and Maro Reef, serve as valuable food sources for the seafloor invertebrates, themselves a food source for other, larger fish.

The scientists have already documented four new species discovered during the course of their research dives, including three new types of crustaceans. Up to 60 percent of the species that taxonomists identified in the submarine canyon seafloor samples are only recognized to the family level.

"There is room for discovery of many more new species," De Leo said. "The deep sea fauna of Hawai'i is poorly sampled and poorly understood. Every time we go to sea and sample a new area, it's likely that we'll find a new species."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Hawaii at Manoa. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Fabio C. De Leo, Eric W. Vetter, Craig R. Smith, Ashley A. Rowden, Matthew McGranaghan. Spatial scale-dependent habitat heterogeneity influences submarine canyon macrofaunal abundance and diversity off the Main and Northwest Hawaiian Islands. Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography, 2013; DOI: 10.1016/j.dsr2.2013.06.015

Cite This Page:

University of Hawaii at Manoa. "Submarine canyons a source of marine invertebrate diversity, abundance." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 August 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130827160514.htm>.
University of Hawaii at Manoa. (2013, August 27). Submarine canyons a source of marine invertebrate diversity, abundance. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130827160514.htm
University of Hawaii at Manoa. "Submarine canyons a source of marine invertebrate diversity, abundance." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130827160514.htm (accessed October 30, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Galapagos Tortoises Bounce Back, But Ecosystem Lags

Galapagos Tortoises Bounce Back, But Ecosystem Lags

Newsy (Oct. 29, 2014) The Galapagos tortoise has made a stupendous recovery from the brink of extinction to a population of more than 1,000. But it still faces threats. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: The US Will Not 'run and Hide' From Ebola

Obama: The US Will Not 'run and Hide' From Ebola

AP (Oct. 29, 2014) Surrounded by health care workers in the White House East Room, President Barack Obama said the U.S. will likely see additional Ebola cases in the weeks ahead. But he said the nation can't seal itself off in the fight against the disease. (Oct. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Oatmeal Healthy Recipes and Benefits

Oatmeal Healthy Recipes and Benefits

Buzz60 (Oct. 29, 2014) Oatmeal is a fantastic way to start your day. Whichever way you prepare them, oats provide your body with many health benefits. In celebration of National Oatmeal Day, Krystin Goodwin (@krystingoodwin) has a few recipe ideas, and tips on how to kickstart your day with this wholesome snack! Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
GoPro Video Gives a Lion's-Eye View of The Hunt

GoPro Video Gives a Lion's-Eye View of The Hunt

Buzz60 (Oct. 29, 2014) If you’ve ever wondered what getting takeout looks like for lions in Africa, the GoPro video from Lion Whisperer Kevin Richardson will give you a lion’s-eye view of the hunt. Jen Markham has more. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins