Data from: Can the source-sink hypothesis explain macrofaunal abundance patterns in the abyss? A modeling test
Hardy, Sarah M.; Smith, Craig R.; Thurnherr, Andreas M. (2015), Data from: Can the source-sink hypothesis explain macrofaunal abundance patterns in the abyss? A modeling test, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.1s445
Low food availability is a major structuring force in deep-sea benthic communities, sustaining only very low densities of organisms in parts of the abyss. These low population densities may result in an Allee effect, whereby local reproductive success is inhibited, and populations are maintained by larval dispersal from bathyal slopes. This slope–abyss source–sink (SASS) hypothesis suggests that the abyssal seafloor constitutes a vast sink habitat with macrofaunal populations sustained only by an influx of larval ‘refugees' from source areas on continental slopes, where higher productivity sustains greater population densities. Abyssal macrofaunal population densities would thus be directly related to larval inputs from bathyal source populations. We evaluate three predictions derived from the SASS hypothesis: (i) slope-derived larvae can be passively transported to central abyssal regions within a single larval period, (ii) projected larval export from slopes to the abyss reproduces global patterns of macrofaunal abundance and (iii) macrofaunal abundance decreases with distance from the continental slope. We find that abyssal macrofaunal populations are unlikely to be sustained solely through influx of larvae from slope sources. Rather, local reproduction probably sustains macrofaunal populations in relatively high-productivity abyssal areas, which must also be considered as potential larval source areas for more food-poor abyssal regions.