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Overview

Brief Summary

There are about 335 living species of brachiopod. These animals are ancient, and over 12,000 fossil species are known. They look like clams or other mollusks, but they are not closely related. Brachiopods eat by using a ring of tentacles to draw food into their mouths. The Atlantic lampshell lives in the deep ocean at depths of up to 20,000 feet.

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© Sebastian Velvez

Supplier: Life on Earth

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Ecology

Habitat

Known from seamounts and knolls
  • Stocks, K. 2009. Seamounts Online: an online information system for seamount biology. Version 2009-1. World Wide Web electronic publication.
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© WoRMS for SMEBD

Source: World Register of Marine Species

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Depth range based on 158 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 138 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 175 - 5150
  Temperature range (°C): -0.238 - 19.011
  Nitrate (umol/L): 2.740 - 41.729
  Salinity (PPS): 34.411 - 35.046
  Oxygen (ml/l): 1.453 - 5.857
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.317 - 2.954
  Silicate (umol/l): 5.636 - 139.601

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 175 - 5150

Temperature range (°C): -0.238 - 19.011

Nitrate (umol/L): 2.740 - 41.729

Salinity (PPS): 34.411 - 35.046

Oxygen (ml/l): 1.453 - 5.857

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.317 - 2.954

Silicate (umol/l): 5.636 - 139.601
 
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

All Lophophorates display extreme sensitivity to environmental changes, such as changes in temperature, salinity, and/or pollution. As such, Lophophorates are generally a useful indicator of environmental conditions because they can live in most marine environments and even some freshwater environments. However, due to changes in the atmosphere, the ocean’s natural salinity, and pollution, many species of Lophophorates are declining towards extinction. A scientific study performed on Bouchardia rosea, a Brachiopod found off the coast of Brazil found that as Brazil is becoming heavily commercialized, the Brachiopods that once thrived there are now nearly extinct. Thirty areas were sampled over a span of years and out of the 5613 specimens collected, only six of them were alive, (Simoes et al, 2009). The Brachiopod Pelagodiscus atlanticus is the only abyssal species of Lophophorata and has been found as deep as 6000 meters. This organism is also sensitive to the environment and can only withstand a temperature change of three degrees Celsius before its structure and growth rate become severely affected (Emig, 1997). As such, Pelagodiscus atlanticus can be an indicator of environmental conditions (especially temperature) in the abyssal range.

Lophophorates are known for their hard shells along with their lophophores. They are also known to mutate very frequently and evolve over spans of relatively few generations, increasing their diversity, (Santagata et al, 2009). Brachiopoda originated in the Cambrian period and flourished well into the Ordovician period, with an estimated 200 different species (Kazlev, 2002). Both of these qualities make them extremely useful specimens in determining the age of different rock layers, giving them a crucial role in paleontology.

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Anoka Ramsey Community College

Source: Anoka Ramsey Community College

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