The mucus feeding structures or houses of the giant larvacean Bathochordaeus provide abundant material for the study of deep-sea detrital communities. Houses were sampled between 100 and 500 m in Monterey Bay with a submersible ROV and surveyed for metazoans by database search of video footage taken from the ROV. Up to an order of magnitude more metazoans were found on houses than in surrounding waters. Results suggest that midwater detritus contains a unique invertebrate community that has been largely undetected, mostly due to sampling difficulties. The houses also provide benthiclike habitats for midwater zooplankton and serve as feeding centers. These particle-associated zooplankton may therefore contribute to remineralization of particulate organic carbon at depth.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.