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Occurrence of deep-water corals on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge based on MAR-ECO data
Mortensen, P.B.; Buhl-Mortensen, L.; Gebruk, A.V.; Krylova, E.M. (2008). Occurrence of deep-water corals on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge based on MAR-ECO data. Deep-Sea Res., Part II, Top. Stud. Oceanogr. 55(1-2): 142-152.
In: Deep-Sea Research, Part II. Topical Studies in Oceanography. Pergamon: Oxford. ISSN 0967-0645, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Author keywords
    deep-water corals; cold-water corals; Mid-Atlantic Ridge; fishing impact

Authors  Top 
  • Mortensen, P.B.
  • Buhl-Mortensen, L.
  • Gebruk, A.V.
  • Krylova, E.M.

    Occurrence of deep-water corals on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge between the southern part of the Reykjanes Ridge and the Azores has been examined based on video surveys using remotely operated vehicles (ROV) and bycatch from longline and bottom trawl. Eight sites were surveyed with ROVs, and the bycatch material came from 16 trawl hauls and nine longline sets. Corals were observed at all sites surveyed with ROVs at depths between 800 and 2400 m, but most commonly shallower than 1400 m. The species richness of corals was high, with a total of 40 taxa recorded. Octocorals dominated the coral fauna with 27 taxa. Lophelia pertusa was one of the most frequently observed corals, present at five of the eight surveyed sites. It occurred on basaltic outcrops on the seamounts but always as relatively small colonies (<0.5 m in diameter). Massive live reef structures were not observed. The deepest record of Lophelia was at 1340 m, south of the Charlie Gibbs Fracture Zone. Accumulations of dead debris of coral skeletons could indicate a presence of former large Lophelia reefs at several locations. The number of megafaunal taxa was 1.6 times higher in areas where corals were present compared to areas without corals. Typical taxa that co-occurred with Lophelia were crinoids, certain sponges, the bivalve Acesta excavata, and squat lobsters. Signs of destructive fishing and lost gillnets were observed at several locations. The impact of fishing on deep-sea corals is discussed.

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