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Depth zonation of deep-sea megafaunal scavengers of the Hawaiian Islands

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Title:Depth zonation of deep-sea megafaunal scavengers of the Hawaiian Islands
Authors:Yeh, John
Date Issued:2008
Abstract:Scavengers are important structural and functional components of deep-sea ecosystems. However, the scavenging fauna of oceanic islands, such as the Hawaiian archipelago, has remained very poorly studied. The deep-sea benthic and demersal scavenging communities of Oahu and the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands were explored with the use of baited time-lapse free-vehicle cameras. My aim was to identify scavenger assemblages and investigate depth related trends in community composition, species richness, and scavenger size and abundance. Twenty-two deployments ranging in depth from 250 - 4783 m yielded 37 taxa attracted to bait including records of 5 fish species previously unknown to the Hawaiian Islands and the first occurrence of the family Zoarcidae. Cluster analysis of 8ray-Curtis similarity of species peak abundance revealed 4 main depth groupings (250-500, 1000, 1500-3000, and ≥4000 m) with significant separation between designated groups. Dominance in species assemblage shifted from decapod crustaceans to teleosts with increasing depth. A major faunal break was identified at the 500-1000 m transition, where species turnover was greatest. Significant size differences (TL) with depth were found for 2 of the 4 fish species examined. Synaphobrancus brevidorsalis were larger deeper while for Simenchelys parasitica the opposite relationship held (smaller deeper), in opposition to previous reported depth trends for scavenging fish. A logarithmic decline was observed in scavenger relative abundance with depth. Evidence of scavenger-scavenger interaction between Syanphobranchus affinis and Neolithodes sp. (competition) and Histiobranchus bathybius and an Aristied shrimp (possible predator-prey) was observed, indicating the need for caution when using baited cameras to index abundance.
Description:Thesis (M.S.)--University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2008.
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 49-55).
vii, 55 leaves, bound 29 cm
Rights:All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections: M.S. - Oceanography

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