Authors: Causse, R., Ozouf-Costaz, C., Koubbi, P., Lamy, D., Eleaume, M., Dettai, A., Duhamel, G., Busson, F., Pruvost, P., Post, A., Beaman, R.J., Riddle, M.J.
Publication: Polar Science 5, 272-285. doi: 10.1016/j.polar.2011.03.004
The RSV Aurora Australis survey allowed the first comprehensive study of the demersal ichthyofaunal environment and of the diversity of the Dumont d’Urville Sea.
We observed a high dominance of the Notothenioidei in both the number of species and in integrated abundances. The Nototheniidae was the most abundant family with 44.7% of the total integrated abundance, followed by Bathydraconidae (18.8%). Trematomus eulepidotus was the dominant species with 19.9% of the total individuals catch. Nevertheless, 43 of the 53 species caught could be considered as very rare. The Bathydraconidae was the most diversified family with 11 species caught.
The highest integrated abundances of fish were found from 400 to 800 m. Well-structured species communities were observed, with high species richness from 570 to 681 m. The richest zones were located along the basins and along their uppersides. Statistical analyses indicated large-scale spatial patterns in species composition, with clear differences in fish communities from the continental slopes, the basins and on the shelf. At a finer spatial scale, the current in the George V Basin and iceberg scouring on the banks and their sides tended to create locally heterogeneous small-scale habitats.
We suggest that the glacial history and the structured habitats allowed successive colonisations of the seabed by demersal fish.