Diversity and spatial distribution patterns of polychaete assemblages in the Paso Ancho, Straits of Magellan Chile

Américo Montiel, Eduardo Quiroga, Dieter Gerdes

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The polychaete fauna of the Paso Ancho Basin in the Straits of Magellan was studied by means of three different sampling gears: a multibox corer, an Agassiz trawl, and a Rauschert dredge. A total of 1743 polychaete specimens belonging to 166 species from 36 families were collected at 10 stations. Significant differences were found between the catches of the three gears in terms of species numbers. The multibox corer brought up 63% of all species caught, especially macroinfauna polychaetes, the Rauschert dredge caught 16%, mostly small-bodied macroepifauna species and the Agassiz Trawl brought up 6% of the total species, largely mega-epifauna polychaetes. Only 15% of the total species occurred in more than one of the gears and only one species was found parallel in all three gears thus indicating that the combination of these gears allowed a better description of the polychaete communities than possible by just one of the gears. Using the Abundance-based Coverage Estimator and combining all species from the three different gears led to an asymptotic value of the species accumulation curve of 223 species for the Paso Ancho. Non-metric multidimensional scaling based on presence/absence data distinguished between shallow (<120 m) and deep (>120 m) polychaete assemblages. The shallow assemblage showed higher species richness values than the deep assemblage, and the taxonomical composition, too, differed considerably between both assemblages.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)304-314
Number of pages11
JournalContinental Shelf Research
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2011


  • Agassiz trawl
  • Benthic fauna
  • Multibox corer
  • Polychaete biodiversity
  • Rauschert dredge


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