Metabolism of deep-sea sponges in the Greenland-Norwegian Sea

U Witte*, G Graf

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


During two cruises with RV ''Meteor'' in 1991 and 1992 to the Norwegian and Greenland Sea, sponges were collected by either box corer or Agassiz trawl at a depth of >2000m, in order to assess the role of deep-sea sponges for energy fluxes through the deep-sea benthic community. Heat production was measured via direct microcalorimetry and adenosine nucleotide levels were determined. Energy charge ranged between 0.5-0.8 for most individuals and was thus comparable to values for normally active shallow water organisms. Oxygen consumption calculated from heat production measurements was about 20 mu mol O-2 . h(-1) . g(-1) ash-free dry weight (AFDW) for all species studied. From the combination of body mass values with individual respiration rates, sponge community oxygen demand, ranging from 20-140 mu mol O-2 . m(-1) . h(-1), could be determined. A comparison with sediment oxygen demand (SOD) measurements (Graf et al., 1995) showed that sponges contribute up to 22% of SOD to benthic oxygen consumption and thus in the deep Greenland Sea belong to the primary organisms involved in the turnover of organic carbon at the deep-sea floor.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)223-235
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 1996




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