Marine Biology

, Volume 158, Issue 6, pp 1365–1376 | Cite as

Benthic macrofaunal compositional variations in the northern Bering Sea

  • Jerry McCormick-RayEmail author
  • Richard M. Warwick
  • G. Carleton Ray
Original Paper


Point sampling of soft-sediment macrofauna provided a regional-scale analysis of species composition, diversity, and demographic distributions in the northern Bering Sea (61°0′–65°30′N Lat) in spring 2006. Taxonomic differences distinguished subregions north and south of St. Lawrence Island (P < 0.1%). High compositional variability occurred within and between sites, with higher variability among northern sites. One to two species dominated most assemblages, with moderately common or rare species. Ampeliscid amphipods characterized the north, and bivalves the south. Bivalves (Macoma calcarea Gmelin, Nuculana radiata Krause, Ennucula tenuis Montagu) were commonly widespread, in varied abundances and sizes. Overall, the extensive soft-sediment habitat supports a varied fauna composition with location, in species dominance, abundance, and size-class. This spatially heterogeneous regional structure is important in assessing ecosystem performance related to secondary production, biogeochemistry, bioturbation, top predator feeding strategy, recruitment, and in measuring change.


Bivalve Bivalve Species Gray Whale Pacific Walrus Alaska Coastal Water 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Sincere appreciation is given to Boris Sirenko, J. M. Grebmeier, L. W. Cooper, and J. Lovvorn, the crew of the USCGC Healy and assistants, and National Science Foundation, which sponsored this study, and the Russian Academy of Sciences for their expertise in taxonomy, especially Sergey Gagaev (polychaetes), Andrey Vorankov (bivalves), Vladislav Dzhurinskiy (amphipods), Alexey V. Smirnov, and Nina Denisenko. For graphics, we thank Elizabeth Labunski (US Fish & Wildlife, Alaska) and Robert Smith (Charlottesville, Va.). And thanks to the Maine Mammal Commission for publication costs, Howard Feder for his review and suggestions (Univ. Alaska, Fairbanks) and to an anonymous reviewer for his helpful suggestions.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jerry McCormick-Ray
    • 1
    Email author
  • Richard M. Warwick
    • 2
  • G. Carleton Ray
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Environmental SciencesUniversity of VirginiaCharlottesvilleUSA
  2. 2.Plymouth Marine LaboratoryPlymouthUK

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