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Biological structures as a source of habitat heterogeneity and biodiversity on the deep ocean margins
Buhl-Mortensen, L.; Vanreusel, A.; Gooday, A.J.; Levin, L.A.; Priede, I.G.; Buhl-Mortensen, P.; Gheerardyn, H.; King, N.; Raes, M. (2010). Biological structures as a source of habitat heterogeneity and biodiversity on the deep ocean margins. Mar. Ecol. (Berl.) 31(1): 21-50. https://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1439-0485.2010.00359.x
In: Marine Ecology (Berlin). Blackwell: Berlin. ISSN 0173-9565; e-ISSN 1439-0485, more
Also appears in:
(2010). The roles of habitat heterogeneity in generating and maintaining biodiversity on continental margin: a contribution to the Census of Marine Life. Wiley Interscience: [s.l.]. 1-260 pp., more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 

    Deep sea
    Deep water structures
    Environmental factors > Abiotic factors
    Reefs > Biogenic deposits > Coral reefs
    Species diversity
    Topographic features > Submarine features > Continental slope
    Water > Deep water
    Xenophyophorea [WoRMS]
Author keywords
    Biodiversity; biotic structures; commensal; continental slope; deep sea; deep-water coral; ecosystem engineering; sponge reefs; xenophyophores

Authors  Top 
  • Buhl-Mortensen, L.
  • Vanreusel, A., more
  • Gooday, A.J., more
  • Levin, L.A.
  • Priede, I.G., more
  • Buhl-Mortensen, P.
  • Gheerardyn, H., more
  • King, N.
  • Raes, M., more

    Biological structures exert a major influence on species diversity at both local and regional scales on deep continental margins. Some organisms use other species as substrates for attachment, shelter, feeding or parasitism, but there may also be mutual benefits from the association. Here, we highlight the structural attributes and biotic effects of the habitats that corals, sea pens, sponges and xenophyophores offer other organisms. The environmental setting of the biological structures influences their species composition. The importance of benthic species as substrates seems to increase with depth as the complexity of the surrounding geological substrate and food supply decline. There are marked differences in the degree of mutualistic relationships between habitat-forming taxa. This is especially evident for scleractinian corals, which have high numbers of facultative associates (commensals) and few obligate associates (mutualists), and gorgonians, with their few commensals and many obligate associates. Size, flexibility and architectural complexity of the habitat-forming organism are positively related to species diversity for both sessile and mobile species. This is mainly evident for commensal species sharing a facultative relationship with their host. Habitat complexity is enhanced by the architecture of biological structures, as well as by biological interactions. Colony morphology has a great influence on feeding efficiency for suspension feeders. Suspension feeding, habitat-forming organisms modify the environment to optimize their food uptake. This environmental advantage is also passed on to associated filter-feeding species. These effects are poorly understood but represent key points for understanding ecosystems and biodiversity on continental margins. In this paper we explore the contributions of organisms and the biotic structures they create (rather than physical modifications) to habitat heterogeneity and diversity on the deep continental margins

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