The DYFAMED-BENTHOS survey was established in December 1990 at the DYFAMED permanent station in the Ligurian Sea (NW Mediterranean) to investigate benthic to pelagic coupling, and particularly benthic biological (with special emphasis on metazoan meiofauna) and biogeochemical responses to varying particulate organic matter inputs to the sea bed. For a detailed description, see Guidi-Guilvard (2002).
The DYFAMED permanent station (43°24N -7°52 E) in the northwestern Mediterranean (>2300 m) is relatively close to land (28 nautical miles off Nice) but presents many of the characteristics of the open ocean with a strong surface seasonal signal and essentially vertical particle fluxes. It is the study site of the on-going French MOOSE (formerly DYFAMED) Observation Service, providing comprehensive background water column data.
The benthic site lies on the western side of the lower middle valley of the Var Canyon deep-sea fan. The terrain is relatively flat (2347 ± 6 m depth) with muddy surface sediments (silt-clay fraction >94% of sediment dry weight) derived primarily from pelagic sedimentation. The bottom-water temperature is high (12.7°C), salinity is elevated (38.4) and average dissolved oxygen concentration is 4.7 ml l-1 (Guidi-Guilvard, 2002). During the benthic survey (1990 - 2003) that comprised different phases based on sediment sampling resolution (see Guidi-Guilvard, 2002), sediment samples were collected monthly to bimonthly for 5 consecutive years (1993 - 1997). Here, are shown meiofauna data from preliminary investigations (December 1990 - December 1992) as well as from the first 3 years of the "high frequency survey" (1993 - 1995) during which the average sampling frequency was 40 days (Guidi-Guilvard & Dallot, 2014).
Meiofauna sample analyses