Composition and distribution of suprabenthic fauna in the south-eastern Weddell Sea and off King George Island
Composition, abundance, and distribution of suprabenthos from a depth between 1 and 1.33 m above the seafloor were analysed. The samples were taken during ANT XV/3 with RV Polarstern in February and March 1998 by means of the supranet of an epibenthic sledge along two transects in the southern Weddell Sea (Vestkapp and Halley Bay) and one east of King George Island. At each of these three transects, five to six stations were taken in water depth between 200 and 2000 m. In total, 34 057 specimens were sampled at 16 stations, yielding 1 205 050 individuals for all stations standardized to 1000 m3 hauls. Of these, copepods were usually the most abundant group in the supranet (805 822 ind 1000 m−3. The suprabenthic fauna of the southwest of Vestkapp (Weddell Sea) transect was dominated by planktonic taxa in terms of individual numbers especially at the deeper stations (938–1983 m). At Halley Bay the total abundance of plankton was lower but its relative abundance (> 80%) was also high, whilst off King George Island peracarid crustaceans were an important fraction.(Received November 6 2000)
(Accepted November 17 2001)
Key Words: Antarctica; composition; Copepoda; distribution; suprabenthos.
p1 British Antarctic Survey, High Cross, Madingley Road, Cambridge CB3 0ET, UK