The aim of this study was the investigation of abundance, composition and biodiversity of benthic deep-sea Harpacticoida (Crustacea, Copepoda) in the Vema Fracture Zone (VFZ) and Puerto Rico trench. The study revealed a clear East-West gradient in total abundance of Harpacticoida with a westward decrease in abundances in the VFZ and significant differences in the community composition in the Eastern (East Vema) and Western Atlantic basin (West Vema) on family and genus level. The Puerto Rico trench and its upper slope did not only differ in abundance, but were distinct with respect to community composition on family and genus level. Thus, the upper slope might be considered as an ecotone, a transition zone where a rapid distinction of species composition occurs. In our study fiarea, 837 adult harpacticoid specimens could be assigned to 16 families and 1 subfamily. The most abundant families found were Ameiridae Boeck, 1865, Pseudotachidiidae Lang, 1936 and Ectinosomatidae Sars, 1903. Genera and species were investigated within selected families (Argestidae Por, 1986, Cletodidae T. Scott, 1905, Canthocamptidae Brady, 1880 and Zosimeidae Seifried, 2003) where 11 genera, and 73 species could be discriminated. Within the selected families, the genera Zosime Boeck, 1873 and Mesocletodes Sars, 1909 were dominant. In the study area, a high number of singletons was detected, which might be endemic to the respective region. Furthermore, a low total number of species in the trench was observed which was attributed to frequent disturbances in the dynamic environment of the Puerto Rico trench (e.g. turbidites or seismic activity) and high adaptability of specialists and opportunists to these disturbances.