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Results and Conclusions

  1. Are the communities of benthic fauna different inside versus outside pockmarks?
    Yes, for both megafauna and macro-infauna, see Wildish et al (2008) [ MEPS Pockmark Paper ]. 
  2. Can the types of benthic communities present determine the relative age of pockmarks?
    A method using species – area and time curves does appear to predict the age of benthic communities at least for those at a pre-equilibrium stage of succession and hence perhaps the age of pockmarks. See in Wildish et al (2008) [ MEPS Pockmark Paper ]. Geological estimates of the time of origin of individual pockmarks are needed to calibrate the method.
  3. Can the mega- and macro- in fauna indicate ecosystem functioning within pockmarks?
    Yes, the majority of species (total = 138) found both in pockmarks and at nearby reference locations are known to depend trophically on ingested carbon (heterotrophy). Only two clam species were found which contain chemosynthetic bacteria and hence may facultatively be able to undertake chemotrophy.

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