Do Antarctic benthic invertebrates show an extended level of eurybathy?
Depth distribution data were compared for 172 European and 157 Antarctic benthic invertebrate species occurring in the respective shelf areas. Antarctic species showed significantly wider depth ranges in selected families of the groups Bivalvia, Gastropoda, Amphipoda and Decapoda. No differences were found in Polychaeta, Asteroidea and Ophiuroidea, where European species also showed comparatively wide bathymetric ranges. These extended levels of eurybathy in the Antarctic benthos may be interpreted either as an evolutionary adaptation or pre-adaptation to the oscillation of shelf ice extension during the Antarctic glacial-interglacial cycle.(Received October 2 1995)
(Accepted November 17 1995)
Key Words: benthic invertebrates; bivalves; gastropods; amphipods; decapods.