The species diversity of benthic Foraminifera contained in 67 sediment samples from the central Arctic Ocean is investigated to determine diversity patterns in a deep-sea, high-latitude environment. The samples range in depth from 1,069 to 3,709 m. Species diversity and equitability, as measured by the number of species, S, the Shannon-Wiener index, H(S), the Buzas-Gibson index, E, and the Lloyd-Ghelardi index, e, decrease with depth in this interval. Comparison with previously published data suggests that species diversity decreases with depth throughout the entire depth range of the Arctic Ocean.

The diversity of the deep Arctic benthic Foraminifera is less than that of faunas from comparable depths at lower latitudes. Current theories of species diversity do not completely explain the observed diversity patterns. The youthfulness of the Arctic ecosystem and instability of resource supplies may be important contributing factors.

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