Wood in the deep-sea serves as substantial food source in an otherwise barren environment, forming specialized, endemic, and diverse community assemblages. This biodiversity reliance on a terrestrial source creates a linkage by which anthropogenic impacts on land can alter the deep oceans. Knowledge of alpha- or beta-diversity of entire wood-fall communities, and wooden drivers of each would elucidate the terrestrial and deep-sea linkage. We report on a multifactorial experiment in the deep ocean in which alpha- and beta-diversity of 43 wood-falls and 11 tree species are quantified over time, wood density, and wood size. We tested multiple hypotheses seeking to link how biodiversity on land may impact the biodiversity in the deep oceans. A tremendous biodiversity occurred among these wood-falls in the deep Gulf of Mexico; 114 invertebrate species from 10 phyla. Time, wood hardness, and wood size all impacted various components of community structure. In many cases, these effects were additive. Species occurring on soft versus hard woods and small versus large wood falls were compositionally different. Although a variety of processes can control community structure, this experiment suggests a strong influence of environmental filtering and host specificity of wood-fall invertebrates suggesting and intimate coupling to tree biodiversity and biomass on land. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

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