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Food-web structure of canyon and slope associated fauna revealed by stable isotopes


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McClain-Counts, J.P., Demopoulos, A.W., Ross, S.W., Brooke, S., and Rhode, M., 2018, Food-web structure of canyon and slope associated fauna revealed by stable isotopes: U.S. Geological Survey data release,


The primary objective of this study was to assess deepsea food web structure and trophic niches in Baltimore and Norfolk canyons, the adjacent slopes, and chemosynthetic seeps along the mid-Atlantic margin using stable isotope analyses (SIA) and isotope niche width analysis. We hypothesized that the isotopic compositions of canyon versus slope fauna would be distinct, given differences in the physics and chemistry of the canyons and slopes and resulting quality and quantity of the organic matter available to the benthos. These differences should be evident across taxa and among and within feeding groups. We also used SIA to estimate trophic positions of invertebrates and fishes and to examine changes in trophic level with size for [...]


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Data_MACreportCh16.csv 711.21 KB


Data were obtained in order to assess the food web structure of fauna in submarine canyons, and adjacent slopes and chemosynthetic seeps. Theses findings can improve understandings of ocean resources and help develop protection and conservation measures for sensitive seafloor habitats, biota, and cultural resources. Furthermore, the canyons investigated during this study were previously considered for National Marine Sanctuary designation and are located in a region that supports intensive fisheries and are under consideration for future oil and gas exploration.



  • USGS Data Release Products
  • USGS Wetland and Aquatic Research Center



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DOI doi:10.5066/F7RJ4HD2

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