Distinct or similar? Soft bottom polychaete diversity in Arctic and Antarctic glacial fjords
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The main aim of this study was to compare the polychaete communities in two similar polar areas: an Arctic fjord, Hornsund (Svalbard) and an Antarctic fjord, Ezcurra Inlet (South Shetlands). This is the first attempt to compare Arctic and Antarctic diversity based on fully comparable datasets. Forty van Veen grab samples were collected in each fjord: twenty replicates were taken in each of two fjord areas characterized by a different level of glacial disturbance—in the inner (glacial bay) and outer (fjord mouth) region of both fjords, from depths of about 100 m in 2005 (Hornsund) and in 2007 (Ezcurra Inlet). In the glacial bays, species richness and diversity were significantly higher in Distinct or similar? Soft bottom polychaete diversity in Arctic and Antarctic glacial fjords - Springer Ezcurra Inlet than in Hornsund due to higher rate of glacial disturbance in the latter one. In the outer areas, species richness was similar in both fjords, although diversity values were higher in Ezcurra Inlet. Polychaete species richness in the habitats characterized by similar level of disturbance (outer areas of the fjords) was the same in both polar regions. At this small scale, where community drivers are very similar, the species richness seems to be independent from the local or regional species pool.
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