Unexpected biotic resilience on the Japanese seafloor caused by the 2011 Tōhoku-Oki tsunami

Takashi Toyofuku*, Pauline Duros, Christophe Fontanier, Briony Mamo, Sabrina Bichon, Roselyne Buscail, Gérard Chabaud, Bruno Deflandre, Sarah Goubet, Antoine Grémare, Christophe Menniti, Minami Fujii, Kiichiro Kawamura, Karoliina Annika Koho, Atsushi Noda, Yuichi Namegaya, Kazumasa Oguri, Olivier Radakovitch, Masafumi Murayama, Lennart Jan De NooijerAtushi Kurasawa, Nina Ohkawara, Takashi Okutani, Arito Sakaguchi, Frans Jorissen, Gert Jan Reichart, Hiroshi Kitazato

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)
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On March 11th, 2011 the Mw 9.0 2011 Tōhoku-Oki earthquake resulted in a tsunami which caused major devastation in coastal areas. Along the Japanese NE coast, tsunami waves reached maximum run-ups of 40 m, and travelled kilometers inland. Whereas devastation was clearly visible on land, underwater impact is much more difficult to assess. Here, we report unexpected results obtained during a research cruise targeting the seafloor off Shimokita (NE Japan), shortly (five months) after the disaster. The geography of the studied area is characterized by smooth coastline and a gradually descending shelf slope. Although high-energy tsunami waves caused major sediment reworking in shallow-water environments, investigated shelf ecosystems were characterized by surprisingly high benthic diversity and showed no evidence of mass mortality. Conversely, just beyond the shelf break, the benthic ecosystem was dominated by a low-diversity, opportunistic fauna indicating ongoing colonization of massive sand-bed deposits.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7517
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 17 Dec 2014
Externally publishedYes

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