Tentacular diversity in deep-sea deposit-feeding holothurians: implications for biodiversity in the deep sea

David Roberts, Heather Moore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The tentacles of deep-sea holothurians show a wide range of morphological diversity. The present paper examines gross tentacle morphology in surface deposit feeding holothurians from a range of bathymetric depths. Species studied included the elasipods: Oneirophanta mutabilis, Psychropotes longicauda and Benthogone rosea and the aspidochirotids: Paroriza prouhoi, Pseudostichopus sp., Bathyplotes natans and Paroriza pallens. The sympatric abyssal species Oneirophanta mutabilis, Psychropotes longicauda and Pseudostichopus sp. show subtle differences in diet and the structure and filling patterns of the gut that suggest differences in feeding strategies which may represent one mechanism to overcome competition for food resources in an environment where nutrient resources are considered to be, at least periodically, limiting. Interspecific differences in tentacle functional morphology and digestive strategies, which reflects taxonomic diversity could be explained in terms of Sanders'; Stability–Time Hypothesis. Since different tentacle types will turn over sediments to different extents, their impact on sedimentary communities will be enormous so that high diversity in meiofaunal communities may be explained most simply by Dayton and Hessler's Biological Disturbance Hypothesis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1487-1505
Number of pages19
JournalBiodiversity and Conservation
Volume6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1997

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