A Deep Seamount Effect Enhanced the Vertical Connectivity of the Planktonic Community Across 1,000 m Above Summit

Rongjie Zhao, Feng Zhao, Ling Feng, James Kar Hei Fang, Chuanyu Liu, Kuidong Xu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Seamount effects, which are generally defined as hydrographic disturbances caused by topography and nutrient enrichment and biological aggregations around seamounts, are normally observed in shallow seamounts due to limited sampling efforts in deep seamounts. However, it remains unclear how and to what extent do deep seamounts leave their imprint on planktonic communities. Herein ciliates, a representative protist group, were chosen to explore the effect of deep seamount on planktonic community. By investigating the vertical and horizontal distribution of ciliate communities around the Kocebu Guyot (summit at −1,198 m) and in nonseamount area, we revealed an obvious deep seamount effect, which enhanced the vertical mixing of ciliate communities to an extent of over 1,000 m above the summit. The vertical mixing was manifested by a strong uplift of bottom dwellers from waters deeper than 500 m and a weak uplift from the 300 m layer to the deep chlorophyll maximum (about 150 m) layer. Network analysis showed that the ciliate cooccurrence relationship around the seamount was much more complex than that in nonseamount area. Statistical analysis indicated that seamount significantly weakened the limitation that water depth posed on vertical ciliate distribution. Overall, the ciliate communities presented a much higher-resolution record of deep seamount effects than physico-chemical data. Deep seamount could enhance the vertical mixing of waters and cooccurrence complexity of planktonic community to the euphotic layer. Considering the wide existence of deep seamounts, such an effect may have ecological significance and enhance the cycles of matter and energy of global oceans.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2022JC018898
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Oceans
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023


  • community connectivity
  • cooccurrence networks
  • deep sea
  • genetic diversity
  • protists
  • seamount effects

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)


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