Distribution Pattern Of Polymetallic Nodules And Associated Megabenthic Community

Stoyanova, Valcana
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 14
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2008
The distribution pattern, abundance variations and types of polymetallic nodules and associated megabenthic communities in area covers more than 60 000 km2 laid out in the eastern Clarion-Clipperton Zone (CCZ) is presented. Our observations are based on data from 158 boxcore stations collected during the cruise of the Interoceanmetal (IOM) in 2004 on board of RV Yuzhmorgeologiya. Although those polymetallic nodules for two decades been subject to prospecting and exploration studies carried out by IOM, the knowledge of megabenthic communities and their distribution pattern within nodule field was extremely limited. With purpose to evaluate the relationship between polymetallic nodules and associated benthic megafauna, an comparison analyze was carried out in respect to their composition, types, abundance across the studied area owing into account the local particular feature of bottom topography. It is suggested that the nodule-bearing seafloor supported more diverse fauna (higher number of morphotypes) than the nodule-free areas. Moreover, based on correlation between types of nodules and associated faunal morphotypes frequency the apparent relationship is considered. The most abundant megafaunal taxa (between 68 ? 92%) is essentially associated with the occurrence of the diagenetically growth nodules type (D-type and its D1-subtype); the role of the H and HD nodule-types was variable. In respect to the bottom topography, the highest diversity in the structure of megafaunal communities was recorded in the gently undulating plains and on the horst slopes, thus the highest nodule abundance occur on the topographic slopes.
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