Community structure of deep-sea bivalve mollusks from the northern Gulf of Mexico
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Density, species diversity, species richness, and evenness of bivalve mollusks were measured in the deep (0.2km to 3.7km) northern Gulf of Mexico to describe the community structure of benthic bivalve mollusks. Density decreased gradually from shallow continental slope depths, with remarkably high values in the Mississippi canyon, to the deepest sites. Diversity of bivalve mollusks increased from shallow continental slope depths, with low values in the Mississippi canyon, to a maximum at intermediate depths (1-2km), followed by a decrease down to the deepest locations (3.7km). Nine distinct groups were formed on the basis of the similarity in species composition. The pattern varied more abruptly on the slope compared to the deeper depths, possibly due to steeper gradients in physical variables. ANOVA indicated that the density of bivalve mollusks was not significantly different at different depths, was not significantly different on different transects, was not significantly different between basin and non-basin, but was significantly different in canyon and non-canyon locations. Similar distinctions were observed in diversity, except that basins were lower than non-basins. The patterns observed reflect the intense elevated input of terrigenous sediments accompanied by high surface-water plankton production from the Mississippi River to the north central gulf.
Chen, Min (2003). Community structure of deep-sea bivalve mollusks from the northern Gulf of Mexico. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Texas A&M University. Available electronically from