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The utility of museum records for documenting distributions of deep-sea corals off the southeastern United States
Ross, S.W.; Carlson, M.C.T.; Quattrini, A.M. (2012). The utility of museum records for documenting distributions of deep-sea corals off the southeastern United States. Mar. Biol. Res. 8(2): 101-114. dx.doi.org/10.1080/17451000.2011.628680
In: Marine Biology Research. Taylor & Francis: Oslo; Basingstoke. ISSN 1745-1000, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
    Cold water; Coral; Deep sea; Enallopsammia profunda (Pourtalès, 1867) [WoRMS]; Enallopsammia rostrata (Pourtalès, 1878) [WoRMS]; Madrepora oculata Linnaeus, 1758 [WoRMS]; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Ross, S.W.
  • Carlson, M.C.T.
  • Quattrini, A.M.

Abstract
    Museum records can enhance distribution maps of deep-sea corals (DSC), but museum data usually acquired from online internet catalogues may be of uncertain quality. Also, many museum records are unavailable through online sources. Holdings of four structure-forming DSC species (Lophelia pertusa, Madrepora oculata, Enallopsammia profunda, Enallopsammia rostrata) collected from off the southeastern US were evaluated from the US National Museum of Natural History (NMNH), Harvard University's Museum of Comparative Zoology (MCZ), University of Miami's Marine Invertebrate Museum, and Yale University's Peabody Museum of Natural History. Data were gathered from online sources, selected publications, and personal visits to the MCZ and NMNH. Each record was located, if possible, specimens were photographed and additional data obtained, including whether the specimen was collected alive or dead. The resulting database was imported into ArcGIS to examine coral distributions. Museums yielded 304 records: 126 L. pertusa, 62 M. oculata, 113 E. profunda, 3 E. rostrata. Most (87%) records occurred between 400 and 900 m depths; some were <300 m (46–248 m) and >900 m (965–2195 m). Museum records confirmed geographic and bathymetric ranges of these corals and suggested areas for further exploration. Problems encountered in the museum data were varied but generally minor. Museum collections are useful for investigating DSC distributions; however, these data require more scrutiny than they usually receive. Visits to museums and/or interaction with museum staff are recommended to improve museum data utility.

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