The known macroalgal flora of the Balleny Islands, Southern Ocean, has more than doubled as a result of expeditions to the area over the past 8 years and their subsequent study is reported here.
The samples collected as part of a benthic survey at Borradaile Island, one of the Balleny Islands group, during the 2006 Tiama expedition have been analysed to provide an assessment of benthic community structure. We provide a quantitative assessment of shallow water macrofaunal community composition and seafloor sediment characteristics, and a more qualitative assessment of seafloor habitat structure and epifaunal/floral community composition. The Borradaile Island sites were located in a high energy environment, sediments had relatively high organic and chlorophyll a content, and considerably lower concentrations of degraded plant material (phaeophytin) than noted in previously surveyed southern Ross Sea locations. This could be a reflection of the higher light levels and the large amount of algal detritus noted at the higher latitude Borradaile sites. Borradaile Island macrofaunal diversity was within the range noted for the more southern sites; macrofaunal abundance, however, was more variable. Epifaunal diversity was very low at the Borradaile Island sites, with the seastar Odontaster validus the only large epifaunal taxon found. In contrast, the Borradaile Island dive sites had high macroalgal diversity. Although not observed at the Borradaile Island dive sites, the Tiama voyage researchers noted shallow water areas with high diversities of encrusting organisms. This study has provided the first analysis of shallow water benthic communities of the Balleny Islands. While it has shown some interesting similarities and contrasts in benthic diversity with other coastal Ross Sea locations, this information from Borradaile Island may not be representative of the entire Balleny area, and further surveys from other sites within the Balleny group are recommended.
In 2005, Ministry of Fisheries (MFish) scientists and Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) personnel prepared a paper for submission to CCAMLR justifying a Marine Protected Area (MPA) designation for the islands. To collect data in support of the MPA proposal, MFish commissioned a month-long targeted research voyage to the Balleny Islands in February 2006, using the yacht Tiama, (“Balleny Islands Ecology Research Voyage”; ZBD2005-01). MFish also obtained additional samples from the Balleny Islands during a 7-week voyage to the Ross Sea using Tangaroa (“Ross Sea Biodiversity”; ZBD2005-03). In 2004, Tangaroa sampled 49 sites in the Ballenys region as part of a BioRoss voyage (TAN0402 - Biodiversity of deepwater invertebrates and fish communities of the North Western Ross Sea), The Tiama and Tangaroa voyages were very successful, providing important ecological information and specimens from the Balleny Islands area, and supplementary information for the Antarctic Working Group Research Programme. The Tiama voyage included a survey of shallow water benthic faunal communities and habitats using the methods developed for NIWA’s coastal Antarctic research project, ICECUBE (ZBD2001-02). To our knowledge this is the first quantitative sampling of shallow water benthos around these islands.
The objectives of this study were (1) to describe and characterise macroalgae diversity from the Balleny Islands and the Western Ross Sea, and (2) to describe and quantify benthic community structure from one location at the Balleny Islands. This report describes the macroalgal collections obtained on recent and earlier voyages and expeditions to the region as well as presenting an analysis of results of the Tiama’s shallow water benthic survey. The diversity of macroalgal and benthic communities and habitats are compared to that of other Ross Sea locations.
The data in this sampling event resource has been published as a Darwin Core Archive (DwC-A), which is a standardized format for sharing biodiversity data as a set of one or more data tables. The core data table contains 69 records.
2 extension data tables also exist. An extension record supplies extra information about a core record. The number of records in each extension data table is illustrated below.
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Researchers should cite this work as follows:
Nelson, W.; Cummings, V.; D’Archino, R.; Halliday, J.; Marriott, P.; Neill, K. (2017): Macroalgae of the Balleny Islands and western Ross Sea, Southern Ocean. v1.1. The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA). Dataset/Samplingevent. https://nzobisipt.niwa.co.nz/resource?r=balleny_marcoalgae&v=1.1
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Balleny Islands and western Ross Sea, Southern Ocean
|Bounding Coordinates||South West [-77.635, -179.897], North East [-66.216, 162.369]|
Macroalgal samples had either been pressed in the field (e.g., on board Tiama) or preserved in seawater/formalin or in alcohol. In some cases specimens had been frozen. For some specimens, subsamples had been removed and placed in silica gel for subsequent molecular sequencing. The liquid preserved specimens were rinsed, examined for epiphytes, and then pressed on herbarium paper. Specimens that had been frozen were highly problematic and on thawing most macroalgae disintegrated. Fragmentation was lessened by immersing samples in trays of 70% alcohol as they thawed, followed by rapid preparation of herbarium specimens.
|Study Extent||Balleny Islands, Southern Ocean|
Method step description:
- Specimens were examined microscopically by either hand sectioning with a razor blade or by preparing whole mounts. Some slides were stained for several minutes in an acidified aniline blue solution (1 part 1% aniline blue solution: 9 parts 7% acetic acid solution) and permanently mounted in a 50% aqueous Karo mixture (with phenol crystals added to prevent microbial growth). Photomicrographs were taken using a Zeiss AxioCam HRc camera with accompanying AxioVision software (Release 4.5), mounted on a Zeiss Axiovert microscope.
- We examined underwater images taken in 2001 and 2006 from Tangaroa, and images taken in 2006 (Tiama) to compare with dredge and scuba records.
- The macrofauna core samples had been sieved on a 500 μm mesh screen and preserved in 10% formalin by the Tiama researchers. In our New Zealand laboratories, any invertebrates found in the cores were sorted and identified to the lowest taxonomic level possible. Chlorophyll a was extracted from homogenised, freeze-dried sediments by boiling in 90% ethanol. The extract was measured spectrophotometrically, with an acidification step included to separate out degradation products (phaeophytin) (Sartory 1982). Sediments for particle size analysis were homogenised, digested in 6% hydrogen peroxide for 48 h to remove organic matter, and dispersed using Calgon. A Galai particle analyser (Galai Cis−100; Galai Productions Ltd, Midgal Haemek, Israel) was then used to calculate percentage volumes for the coarse, medium, and fine sand, silt and clay fractions. Organic content was determined by drying the sediment at 60 °C for 48 h, followed by combustion at 400 °C for 5.5 h
- Nelson, W.; Cummings, V.; D’Archino, R.; Halliday, J.; Marriott, P.; Neill, K. (2010). Macroalgae and benthic biodiversity of the Balleny Islands, Southern Ocean. New Zealand Aquatic Environment and Biodiversity Report No. 55
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