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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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Abstract

Hornsund, an Arctic fjord in the west coast of Spitsbergen (Svalbard), was selected as All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory (ATBI) site under EU 5th Framework Concerted Action BIOMARE (2000–2002), especially due to its pristine, undisturbed natural character. On the base of large material (89 stations located throughout the fjord and 129 Van Veen grab samples) collected during cruises of RV Oceania in July in 2002, 2003, 2005 and 2007 and literature search a comprehensive list of species recorded within Hornsund area, on the soft bottom with depth range of 30–250 m is provided. Over 220 species were identified including 93 species of Polychaeta, 62 species of Mollusca and 58 species of Crustacea. Species list is supported by information on the zoogeographical status, body length and biological traits of dominant species. Need for further research on Hornsund soft bottom fauna with more sampling effort is highlighted.
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