reef stage whale fall

They are able to eat most of the flesh and any other immediate organic material. [1] A whale fall enters this stage once the organic compounds have been exhausted and only minerals remain in the bones, which provide a hard substrate for … Abundant cemented suspension feeders indicate a well-developed ‘reef stage’ with prolonged exposure and colonization of the bones prior to final burial, unlike in modern whale falls where organisms such as the ubiquitous bone-eating worm Osedax rapidly destroy the skeleton. The first stage is called “the mobile-scavenger stage”. these chemoautotrophs; and (4) a ‘‘reef’’ stage, inhabited by suspension feeders exploiting the remaining nutrient-depleted hard substrate. ... and others. Some scientists postulate a fourth stage of ecological succession at whale fall sites, called the "reef stage." Enhanced flow conditions on the bones. Different stages in the decomposition of the whale carcass support a succession of marine biological communities. On the sea floor, these carcasses can create complex localized ecosystems that supply sustenance to deep-sea organisms for decades. They can create complex localized ecosystems that supply sustenance to deep-sea organisms for decades. The falls of large whales (30-160 t adult body weight) yield massive pulses of labile organic matter to the deep-sea floor. Large cetacean carcasses at the deep-sea floor, known as ‘whale falls’, provide a resource for generalist-scavenging species, chemosynthetic fauna related to those from hydrothermal vents and cold seeps, and remarkable bone-specialist species such as Osedax worms. The oceans' depths are supplied by nutrients falling down from the surface waters. When whales die and sink, the whale carcasses, or whale falls, provide a sudden, concentrated food source and a bonanza for organisms in the deep sea. The second stage is called “the enrichment-opportunist stage”. Here, fish and other small mobile organisms are the first to come to the dinner party. There are several stages to the whale fall ecosystem as different parts of the whale are used up. After a few months or years, depending on the size of the whale, marine worms and crustaceans take up residence on and inside the remains, marking the enrichment opportunist stage [source: Smith and Baco ]. of ecological succession for a whale fall. ... (Smaller whales might decompose too quickly for a reef stage, little evidence so far) Describe the hypothesized fourth "reef stage" of a whale fall. This is unlike in shallower waters, where a whale carcass will be consumed by scavengers over a relatively short period of time. In the first phase, mobile scavengers such as ratfish, hagfish and sharks smell whale on the water and swim from afar, feeding for up to two years on the dead whale's soft flesh. A whale fall is the carcass of a cetacean that has fallen onto the ocean floor at a depth greater than 1,000 m (3,300 ft), in the bathyal or abyssal zones. The various successional stages of whale falls and their “different persistence times” create “time lags,” 61 or what are more ominously known as “extinction debts.” 62 These lags are produced due to the diachronic nature of the decomposition of whale remains, where each successional stage is affected at different times. Observations on whale-fall succession patterns suggested that carcasses persist for decades, depending on the whale age and size (Smith et al., 2002; Smith and Baco, 2003; Fujiwara et al., 2007). Osedax. First comes the mobile-scavenger stage, when fish strip around 90 percent of the tissue from the whale fall [source: Smith and Baco]. 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