Scientia Marina, Vol 63, No S1 (1999)

Polychaetes from Aysen Fjord, Chile: distribution, abundance and biogeographical comparison with the shallow soft-bottom polychaete fauna from Antarctica and the Magellan Province

J. I. Cañete
Instituto de Oceanología, Universidad de Valparaíso - Departamento de Ciencias y Recursos Naturales, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de Magallanes, Chile

G. L. Leighton
Instituto de Oceanología, Universidad de Valparaíso, Chile

F. F. Aguilera
Instituto de Oceanología, Universidad de Valparaíso, Chile


This paper analyzes the composition, abundance and biogeographical relationship of the benthic polychaetes collected in three shallow subtidal locations (mouth of Cuervo and Condor rivers and Acantilada Bay) from Aysen Fjord, AF, Chile (45ºS, 73ºW), and provides a comparison with data on shallow soft-bottom polychaetes from Antarctica and other locations of the Magellan Province: Dalcahue Channel, DC (42º22´S, 73º39´W), Puerto Cisnes, Puyuhuapi Channel, PC (44º43´S, 72º42´W) and Magellan Straits, MS. AF polychaete fauna comprises 38 species, the macrobenthic taxon being most representative in terms of abundance and species richness. The importance of polychaetes seems to be higher in fjords than in channels. Low numbers of common species were detected among DC, PC, MS and AF, indicating differences along the influence area of the Cape Horn Current or along the Magellan Province. The polychaetes from AF show low affinities with Antarctica; maximum number of common species was observed with the Antarctic Peninsula, whereas the lowest values were recorded from locations in the Ross and Weddell Seas. Coincidence in some ecological attributes between AF and Antarctica indicate that polychaetes may play an important and similar ecological role in both environments.


Polychaeta; biodiversity; biogeography; Chile; Magellan Province; Antarctica

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Copyright (c) 1999 Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC)

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