Macrobenthos Communities of Cambridge, McBeth and Itirbilung Fiords, Baffin Island, Northwest Territories, Canada
Keywords:Animal distribution, Animal ecology, Benthos, Continental shelves, Fjords, Invertebrates, Ocean currents, Wildlife habitat, Baffin Bay-Davis Strait, Baffin Island waters, Nunavut, Cambridge Fiord, Itirbilung Fiord, McBeth Fiord
Thirty-eight marine invertebrates, including molluscs, echinoderms, polychaetes and several minor taxa, have been added to the previously described benthic macrofauna inhabiting Cambridge, McBeth and Itirbilung fiords in northeastern Baffin Island, Northwest Territories, Canada. The fiords lie fully within the marine arctic zone and organisms exhibiting panarctic distributions constitute the majority of species collected from them. Macrobenthic associations recorded in the fiords are comparable, both with respect to species composition and habitat, to benthic invertebrate associations occurring on the Baffin Island continental shelf and in east Greenland fiords, reflecting the broad environmental tolerances of the organisms constituting the benthic associations. Deposit-feeding organisms dominate the fiord macrobenthos, notably nuculanid bivalves, ophiuroid echinoderms and elasipod holothurians. The foraging and locomotory activities of these organisms may influence benthic community structure by reducing the abundance of sessile and/or tubiculous benthos.
Key words: marine benthos, eastern Baffin Island, fiords, continental shelf, zoogeography, ecology