Changes in polychaete standing stock and diversity on the northern side of Senghor Seamount (NE Atlantic)
Abstract. Interest in seamount research has gathered momentum over the past five years in an effort to understand the physical, geochemical and biological characteristics as well as the interconnectedness of seamount ecosystems. The majority of biological seamount research has concentrated upon the rich and diverse suspension feeding organisms that dominate the megafauna, such as gorgonians and antipatharian corals; by comparison there have been few studies that have investigated the no less enigmatic, but possibly just as important infauna. To help fill this knowledge gap, the macrofaunal community was sampled from a total of five stations along a northerly transect (capturing water depths from ∼130 m to ∼3300 m), on Senghor Seamount (NE Atlantic). The focus of this study is on the polychaete communities. Polychaete abundance peaked at the summit and a mid-slope station (∼1500 m), a pattern mirrored by the biomass values. The polychaete community along the transect appeared to be particularly diverse, with 135 species nominally identified to putative species from a total of 954 individuals. A diversity maximum was identified on the upper slope at ∼800 m depth, with species diversity, richness and evenness also all peaking at this station. Depth is likely to be a significant factor in determining levels of similarity between stations.