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    ABSTRACT: The Nazaré canyon on the Portuguese Margin (NE Atlantic) was sampled during spring-summer for three consecutive years (2005–2007), permitting the first inter-annual study of the meiofaunal communities at the Iberian Margin at two abyssal depths (~3500 m and ~4400 m). Using new and already published data, the meiofauna standing stocks (abundance and biomass) and nematode structural and functional diversity were investigated in relation to the sediment biogeochemistry (e.g. organic carbon, nitrogen, chlorophyll a, phaeopigments) and grain size. A conspicuous increase in sand content from 2005 to 2006 and decrease of phytodetritus at both sites, suggested the occurrence of one or more physical disturbance events. Nematode standing stocks and trophic diversity decreased after these events, seemingly followed by a recovery/recolonization period in 2007, which was strongly correlated with an increase in the quantity and bioavailability of phytodetrital organic matter supplied. Changes in meiofauna assemblages, however, also differed between stations, likely because of the contrasting hydrodynamic and food supply conditions. Higher meiofauna and nematode abundances, biomass and trophic complexity were found at the shallowest canyon station, where the quantity, quality and bioavailability of food material were higher than at the deeper site. The present results suggest that even though inter-annual variations in the sedimentary environment can regulate the meiofauna in the abyssal Nazaré Canyon, heterogeneity between sampling locations in the canyon were more pronounced. Meiofauna data are available in resources of this article - please cite article and doi when using data
    Deep Sea Research Part I Oceanographic Research Papers 01/2014; 2014(83):102. · 2.82 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This volume compiles a number of scientific papers resulting from a sustained multidisciplinary research effort of the deep-sea ecosystem in the Mediterranean Sea that started 20 years ago, which has peaked over the last few years thanks to a number of Spanish and European projects like RECS, PROMETEO, DOS MARES, REDECO, GRACCIE, HERMES, HERMIONE and PERSEUS among others. The geographic focus of most papers is on the NW Mediterranean Sea including the western Gulf of Lion, the North Catalan margin and the submarine canyons there, with a particular attention to the Blanes and Cap de Creus canyons. This introductory article to the Progress in Oceanography special issue on “Mediterranean deep canyons” provides background information needed to better understand the individual papers forming the volume, comments previous reference papers related to the main topics here addressed, and finally highlights the existing relationships between atmospheric forcing, oceanographic processes, seafloor physiography, ecosystem response, and litter and chemical pollution. This article also aims at constituting a sort of glue, in terms of existing knowledge and concepts and novel findings, linking together the other twenty papers in the volume, also including some illustrative figures. The main driving ideas behind this special issue, particularly fitting to the study area of the NW Mediterranean Sea, could be summarized as follows: (i) the atmosphere and the deep-sea ecosystem are connected through oceanographic processes originating in the coastal area and the ocean surface, which get activated at the occasion of high-energy events leading to fast transfers to the deep; (ii) shelf indented submarine canyons play a pivotal role in such transfers, which involve dense water, sedimentary particles, organic matter, litter and chemical pollutants; (iii) lateral inputs (advection) from the upper continental margin contributes significantly to the formation of intermediate and deep water masses, and the associated fluxes of matter and energy are a main driver of deep-sea ecosystems; (iv) deep-sea organisms are highly sensitive to the arrival of external inputs, starting from the lowest food web levels and propagating upwards as time passes, which also relies upon the biology, nutritional needs and life expectancy of each individual species; and (v) innovative knowledge gained through such multidisciplinary research is of the utmost significance for an improved management of deep-sea living resources, such as the highly priced red shrimp Aristeus antennatus, for which a pilot management plan largely based in the findings described here and in related articles has been recently published (BOE, 2013). The researchers involved in such challenging endeavour have learnt tremendously from the results obtained so far and from each other, but are fully aware that there are still many unsolved questions. That is why this introductory article also includes “Future challenges” both in the title as an individual section at the end, to express that there is still a long way to go.
    Progress In Oceanography 09/2013; 118(Special Issue: Integrated study of a deep submarine canyon and adjacent open slopes in the Western Mediterranean Sea: an essential habitat):1-27. · 3.71 Impact Factor
  • edited by Progress in Oceanography 118: 1-288, 11/2013; Elsevier.