Demosponges from the Northern Mid-Atlantic Ridge shed more light on the diversity and biogeography of North Atlantic deep-sea sponges
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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In July–August 2004, the Mid-Atlantic Ridge Ecosystems (MAR-Eco) expedition collected Demospongiae (Porifera) from the Northern Mid-Atlantic Ridge (MAR) north of the Azores, between 41°N and 61°N. Demosponges were found at 10 stations, at depths ranging from 753 to 3046 m. Twenty-two species were identified: 17 Tetractinellida, one Polymastiida, one Suberitida, two Poecilosclerida and one Dendroceratida. The study of this material is an opportunity to revise the taxonomy and the North Atlantic distribution of each of these deep-sea species. Some species are particularly rare and poorly known (Tetilla longipilis, Tetilla sandalina, Craniella azorica, Polymastia corticata) and two are new to science: Forcepia (Forcepia) toxafera sp. nov. and Iotroata paravaridens sp. nov. This study suggests that the MAR is not a longitudinal barrier for the dispersal of deep-sea demosponges while on the contrary, the Charlie-Gibbs Fracture Zone (CGFZ) may be a latitudinal border for the dispersal of deep-sea demosponges, due to great depths and currents.