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Diversity and endemism of the benthic seamount fauna in the southwest Pacific
Richer de Forges, B.; Koslow, J.A.; Poore, G.C.B. (2000). Diversity and endemism of the benthic seamount fauna in the southwest Pacific. Nature (Lond.) 405: 944-947.
In: Nature: International Weekly Journal of Science. Nature Publishing Group: London. ISSN 0028-0836; e-ISSN 1476-4687, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Richer de Forges, B.
  • Koslow, J.A.
  • Poore, G.C.B., more

    Seamounts comprise a unique deep-sea environment, characterized by substantially enhanced currents and a fauna that is dominated by suspension feeders, such as corals. The potential importance of these steep-sided undersea mountains, which are generally of volcanic origin, to ocean biogeography and diversity was recognized over 40 years ago, but this environment has remained very poorly explored. A review of seamount biota and biogeography reported a total of 597 invertebrate species recorded from seamounts worldwide since the Challenger expedition of 1872. Most reports, based on a single taxonomic group, were extremely limited: 5 seamounts of the estimated more than 30,000 seamounts in the world's oceans accounted for 72% of the species recorded. Only 15% of the species occurring on seamounts were considered potential seamount endemics. Here we report the discovery of more than 850 macro- and megafaunal species from seamounts in the Tasman Sea and southeast Coral Sea, of which 29–34% are new to science and potential seamount endemics. Low species overlap between seamounts in different portions of the region indicates that the seamounts in clusters or along ridge systems function as 'island groups' or 'chains,' leading to highly localized species distributions and apparent speciation between groups or ridge systems that is exceptional for the deep sea. These results have substantial implications for the conservation of this fauna, which is threatened by fishing activity.

  • CSIRO - Southern Surveyor voyage SS 01/97, Tasmanian Seamounts study, more

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