Jakiel, Aleksandra; Palero, Ferran; Błażewicz, Magdalena. Scientific Reports 9 : 17305 (2019) DIGITAL CSIC
Understanding the diversity and spatial distribution of benthic species is fundamental to properly assess the impact of deep sea mining. Tanaidacea provide an exceptional opportunity for assessing spatial patterns in the deep-sea, given their low mobility and limited dispersal potential. The diversity and distribution of pseudotanaid species is characterized here for the Clarion and Clipperton Fractures Zone (CCZ), which is the most extensive deposit field of metallic nodules. Samples were taken from the Belgian, German and French license areas, but also from the APEI 3 (Area of Particular Environmental Interest 3) of the Interoceanmetal consortium associates. The combination of morphological and genetic data uncovered one new pseudotanaid genus (Beksitanais n. gen.) and 14 new species of Pseudotanais (2 of them virtual taxa). Moreover, our results suggest that spatial structuring of pseudotanaid diversity is correlated with deep-sea features, particularly the presence of fractures and seamount chains crossing the CC Z. The presence of geographical barriers delimiting species distributions has important implications for the establishment of protected areas, and the APEI3 protected area contains only one third of the total pseudotanaid species in CC Z. The specimen collection studied here is extremely valuable and represents an important first step in characterizing the diversity and distribution of pseudotanaids within the Tropical Eastern Pacific.