Beer, L. L.. East Carolina University,
Tilney, P. L.. Bates College,
Ambrose, Jr., W. G.. Bates College,
Clough, L. M.. East Carolina University,

On certain areas of the Arctic continental shelves, epifauna are a major component of the total macrofaunal biomass and likely play a significant role in the carbon cycle of these areas. Yet because it is difficult to quantify the abundance of epifauna, they usually are not included in models of carbon cycling. During a 1998 science of opportunity cruise on board the USCGC Polar Sea, we employed an ROV, trawl, and shipboard experiments to investigate the role of epifauna in carbon remineralization in the Chukchi Sea. Epifauna was dominated by echinoderms (ophiuroids, in particular Ophiura sarsi, and sand dollars, Echinarachnius parma). Preliminary density estimates of echinoderms range from 1.5 to 95.1 individuals per m2. Respiration rates of the investigated echinoderm taxa were high, and may account for as much as half of the total respiration seen in whole-core incubations. In addition, ice algae appear to increase epifaunal respiration. Finally, we report on attempts to isolate molecular markers of increased metabolic activities within brittlestars. We conclude that epifauna must be considered if we hope to construct realistic models of carbon cycling on Arctic continental shelves.
Day: Tuesday, Feb. 2
Time: Poster
Location: Sweeney Center
Code: SS15TU1507S