Species replacement dominates megabenthos beta diversity in a remote seamount setting

Lissette Victorero*, Katleen Robert, Laura F. Robinson, Michelle L. Taylor, Veerle A.I. Huvenne

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

59 Citations (Scopus)
251 Downloads (Pure)


Seamounts are proposed to be hotspots of deep-sea biodiversity, a pattern potentially arising from increased productivity in a heterogeneous landscape leading to either high species co-existence or species turnover (beta diversity). However, studies on individual seamounts remain rare, hindering our understanding of the underlying causes of local changes in beta diversity. Here, we investigated processes behind beta diversity using ROV video, coupled with oceanographic and quantitative terrain parameters, over a depth gradient in Annan Seamount, Equatorial Atlantic. By applying recently developed beta diversity analyses, we identified ecologically unique sites and distinguished between two beta diversity processes: species replacement and changes in species richness. The total beta diversity was high with an index of 0.92 out of 1 and was dominated by species replacement (68%). Species replacement was affected by depth-related variables, including temperature and water mass in addition to the aspect and local elevation of the seabed. In contrast, changes in species richness component were affected only by the water mass. Water mass, along with substrate also affected differences in species abundance. This study identified, for the first time on seamount megabenthos, the different beta diversity components and drivers, which can contribute towards understanding and protecting regional deep-sea biodiversity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4152
Number of pages11
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 7 Mar 2018


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