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A shallow-water whale-fall experiment in the north Atlantic

Journal article
Authors Thomas G. Dahlgren
Helena Wiklund
Björn Källström
Tomas Lundälv
C. R. Smith
A. G. Glover
Published in Cahiers De Biologie Marine
Volume 47
Issue 4
Pages 385-389
ISSN 0007-9723
Publication year 2006
Published at Department of Zoology
Department of Marine Ecology
Pages 385-389
Language en
Links <Go to ISI>://000243751300009
Keywords whale-fall, marine bentic ecology, systematics
Subject categories Marine ecology, Biological Sciences


The study of hydrothermal vent and seep fauna is associated with great costs due to the deep and distant locations. Whale-falls, which are thought to have habitat conditions which overlap seep ecosystems, may be used as a model system to explore questions such as the evolution of dispersal strategies and interactions between hosts and their symbiont microbes. Our discovery of whale-fall fauna at a whale carcass sunk at shelf depth in a Swedish fjord contrasts the apparent lack of specialized organisms from shallow water seep environments. Representatives of a whale-fall fauna found at the Swedish study site include bacterial mat feeding dorvilleid annelids and the whale-bone eating pogonophoran worm Osedax mucofloris Glover et al., 2005. We are maintaining whale-fall fauna alive in aquaria, and initial results from these studies suggest that O. mucofloris has a continuous reproduction life-history strategy.

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