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An Initial Assessment of Polychaete Diversity in the Northeastern Atlantic Ocean

J.-C. Dauvin, M. Kendall, G. Paterson, F. Gentil, I. Jirkov, M. Sheader and M. de Lange
Biodiversity Letters
Vol. 2, No. 6 (Nov., 1994), pp. 171-181
Published by: Wiley
DOI: 10.2307/2999658
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2999658
Page Count: 11
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An Initial Assessment of Polychaete Diversity in the Northeastern Atlantic Ocean
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Abstract

The species richness of polychaetes from four sites in the northeastern Atlantic Ocean was compared using Hurlbert's rarefaction method, which is commonly used to measure diversity. There was no unequivocal evidence of general gradients of diversity with depth or latitude within the complete data set although some local trends did appear. An increase in diversity with depth at latitudes lower than 60N, a maximal diversity at about 200 m among stations shallower than 400 m, high diversity in northern latitudes at stations shallower than 700 m and decreasing diversity from the western to the eastern part of the English Channel were all observed. The diversity of abyssal sites was not necessarily as low as predicted by Rex (1983). The diversity of polychaetes showed no marked differences along the latitudinal gradient; both high and low diversity and density being recorded from all latitudinal zones and bathymetric ranges. The lack of general pattern of diversity of polychaetes may be due to the high degree of biological and ecological adaptation of this group, which is one of the most important macrobenthic taxa in soft-bottom communities. The results obtained here are compared with latitudinal, bathymetric and sedimentological gradients observed in other marine invertebrates groups.

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