First insight of bathymetric patterns among deep-sea harpacticoid diversity and composition on landward slopes of subduction zones along the Japanese island arc

  • Motohiro ShimanagaEmail author
  • Tomo Kitahashi
  • Kiichiro Kawamura
Original Article


Universal classification schemes have been proposed for the vertical zonation of sessile benthos on intertidal rocky shores; however, generalized patterns among deep-sea meiofauna of different regions remain rare. We conducted a preliminary, family-level study of deep-sea harpacticoid diversity and community composition off Tosa Bay, Shikoku island, Japan, along a transect on a landward continental slope of the Nankai Trough. We then compared these data to those of other subduction zones along the Japanese island arc, including the Kuril, Japan, and Ryukyu trenches. Common bathymetric trends in harpacticoid composition were observed among these subduction zones from upper bathyal to abyssal depths (400–5800 m). Ectinosomatidae was the most abundant family within this depth interval; however, its frequency decreased with increasing depth, whereas the abundance of Pseudotachidiidae was highest at abyssal depths. Harpacticoid composition differed significantly between landward slopes of the Ryukyu Trench and those of the Japan and Kuril trenches. However, harpacticoid composition on the landward slope of the Nankai Trough, between the Ryukyu and Japan trenches, was similar to that around the neighboring subduction zones. These findings imply that patterns of deep-sea harpacticoid community composition are similar along the continental slope of the Japanese island arc, and that the Izu–Ogasawara arc, which subdivides the subduction zones, has not functioned as a physical barrier to harpacticoid expansion between zones.


Bathymetric pattern Community structure Deep sea Harpacticoida Meiofauna Subduction zone 



The authors are grateful to the officers and crew of the research vessel Hakuho Maru and to the Japan Agency for Marine–Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC). Comments by two anonymous reviewers greatly improved our manuscript. This study was partly funded by a grant from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (KAKENHI) program (Grant number 22770022).

Supplementary material

10872_2019_516_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (69 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 68 kb)


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Copyright information

© The Oceanographic Society of Japan and Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Aitsu Marine StationKumamoto UniversityKami-Amakusa CityJapan
  2. 2.Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC)Yokosuka CityJapan
  3. 3.Graduate School of Sciences and Technology for InnovationYamaguchi UniversityYamaguchi CityJapan

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