Research Technical Report
Endemicity, Biogeography, Composition, and Community Structure on a Northeast Pacific Seamount
McClain, C.R., L. Lundsten, M. Ream, J. Barry, and A. DeVogelaere (January 2009)
PLoS ONE 4(1):e4141. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0004141.
The deep ocean greater than 1 km covers the majority of the earth's surface. Interspersed on the abyssal plains and continental slope are an estimated 14000 seamounts, topographic features extending 1000 m off the seafloor. A variety of hypotheses are posited that suggest the ecological, evolutionary, and oceanographic processes on seamounts differ from those governing the surrounding deep sea. The most prominent and oldest of these hypotheses, the seamount endemicity hypothesis (SMEH), states that seamounts possess a set of isolating mechanisms that produce highly endemic faunas. Here, we constructed a faunal inventory for Davidson Seamount, the first bathymetric feature to be characterized as a 'seamount', residing 120 km off the central California coast in approximately 3600 m of water (Fig 1). We find little support for the SMEH among megafauna of a Northeast Pacific seamount; instead, finding an assemblage of species that also occurs on adjacent continental margins. A large percentage of these species are also cosmopolitan with ranges extending over much of the Pacific Ocean Basin. Despite the similarity in composition between the seamount and non-seamount communities, we provide preliminary evidence that seamount communities may be structured differently and potentially serve as source of larvae for suboptimal, non-seamount habitats.