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Research Technical Report

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Deep-sea Faunal Communities Associated with a Lost Intermodal Shipping Container in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, CA

Taylor, J.R., A.P. DeVogelaere, E.J. Burton, O. Frey, L. Lundsten, L.A. Kuhnz, P.J. Whaling, C. Lovera, K.R. Buck, and J.P. Barry (June 2014)

Marine Pollution Bulletin 83:92-106


Carrying assorted cargo and covered with paints of varying toxicity, lost intermodal containers may take centuries to degrade on the deep seafloor. In June 2004, scientists from Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) discovered a recently lost container during a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) dive on a sediment-covered seabed at 1281 m depth in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS). The site was revisited by ROV in March 2011. Analyses of sediment samples and high-definition video indicate that faunal assemblages on the container's exterior and the seabed within 10 m of the container differed significantly from those up to 500 m. The container surface provides hard substratum for colonization by taxa typically found in rocky habitats. However, some key taxa that dominate rocky areas were absent or rare on the container, perhaps related to its potential toxicity or limited time for colonization and growth. Ecological effects appear to be restricted to the container surface and the benthos within ∼10 m.

Reviewed: April 11, 2024
Web Site Owner: National Ocean Service

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