Authors: Beaman, R.J.
Publication: NPA News 80(7), 5-7. National Parks Association of Queensland, Milton, Australia.
What is clear from numerous other studies around the world is that geology controls biology on the deep seafloor. Therefore mapping the ocean is the key to understanding the distribution of deep-sea ecosystems. In other words, map the geology and you can then understand the spatial distribution of the associated biological assemblages. For example, where slope gradients are steep, such as on scarps or exposed rock faces, there tends to be a lack of accumulating sediment and any hard-ground substrate provides ideal attachment surfaces for sessile invertebrates. These animals are typically filter-feeders, such as corals and sponges, and can form complex biological structures that also provide micro-habitats for other creatures. In contrast, lower slope gradients tend to accumulate fine sediments that typically favour mobile animals which are deposit-feeders, such as worms and echinoderms. Areas subject to regular disturbances, such as in submarine canyons, will have different biological communities compared to areas with a different disturbance regime.