Spatial and bathymetric trends in Harpacticoida (Copepoda) community structure in the Northern Gulf of Mexico deep-sea
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Harpacticoid copepod community structure was analyzed at 43 stations in the northern Gulf of Mexico deep-sea to test regional and bathymetric patterns of diversity in relation to environmental variables and topographic complexity of the continental slope. Depth, longitude, and proximity to the Florida Escarpment significantly affect average phylogenetic diversity, but basins and canyons do not. Multivariate analysis reveals a significant inverse relationship between diversity and POM flux, which is confirmed by significant region-scale depth and longitude differences. Although species richness declines linearly with increasing depth, the expected number of species (rarefraction) is maximized at approximately 1200 m, and average taxonomic and phylogenetic diversity continue to increase with depth, suggesting greater morphological or functional harpacticoid diversity with increasing depth. Most stations have unique species compositions, suggesting high regional (2200 species) and global (10 5-106 species) diversity by extrapolation. Therefore, processes maintaining harpacticoid diversity in the northern Gulf of Mexico deep-sea seem to rely on both small-scale dispersal and large-scale food supply mechanisms. 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.