Structure and function of pelagic and benthic communities of the eastern Mediterranean in relation to physical drivers and bottom topography - Cruise No. MSM14/1 - December 17, 2009 - January 14, 2010 - Limassol (Cyprus) - Limassol (Cyprus) (English)

  • ISSN:
  • Report  /  Electronic Resource

How to get this document?

Free access

Cruise MSM14/1 aimed at physical, biogeochemical and biological sampling at and around Eratosthenes Seamount in the Eastern Mediterranean, and at the continuation of a zooplankton time series in the deep waters of the Levantine Basin. The eastern Mediterranean is an extremely oligotrophic region with a warm (ca 14 °C) deep-water layer. Eratosthenes Seamount is the only large seamount in the region, and, except for the results of one benthic study on the top of the seamount, nothing is known about the faunal communities and their ecology. The studies at Eratosthenes Seamount focused on the question whether a seamount ecosystem in an oligotrophic region with a warm deep-water sphere is comparable to similar topographic features in the Northeast Atlantic, with respect to their influence on the surrounding flow field and the nutrient regime, their productivity and the structure of their food web. Furthermore, the interaction between the seamount and the persisting gyres, eddies and frontal systems, and their effect on the food supply of the seamount communities were addressed. In addition to the seamount-specific goals, the results from the cruise will further our knowledge of the zoogeography of pelagic and benthic organisms in the eastern Mediterranean. The zooplankton time series, starting in 1987, monitored a strong impact of the Eastern Mediterranean Transient (EMT) on the zooplankton communities in 1993. After the end of the EMT in 1995, the zooplankton appeared to switch back to its former state, but samples from 2006 indicate again strong differences to the pre- and post-EMT times with exceptionally high abundances of the copepod Calanus helgolandicus. We expect that the continuation of the time series will lead to a better understanding of the dynamics of the pelagic ecosystem in the deep Levantine Basin.