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Abstract

Soft bottom fauna have been sampled along the Spitsbergen fjord depression entering shelf, slope and Greenland Sea Ocean Basin at 200, 300, 500, 1500, 2000 and 3000 m depths. From 19 samples covering 1.9 m2, 4295 individuals of 194 macrofauna species have been sorted. Density decreased markedly from over 6000 ind/m2 in shelf stations to some 600 ind/m2 below 1500 m depth. Only two taxa (Chaetozone group and Lumbrineris sp. A) occurred in more than 75% of samples, 55 taxa (28% of the total) were represented by single specimens only. The highest number of species per sample (65 taxa in 0.1 m2) was noted at 525 depth. There were 14 eurybathic species and the same number of taxa were found exclusively below 2000 m depth, while 117 species were found only shallower than 300 m depth.
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