MEPS 374:23-32 (2009)  -  doi:10.3354/meps07745

Benthic invertebrate communities on three seamounts off southern and central California, USA

Lonny Lundsten1,*, James P. Barry1, Gregor M. Cailliet2, David A. Clague1, Andrew P. DeVogelaere3, Jonathan B. Geller2

1Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, 7700 Sandholdt Road, Moss Landing, California 95039-9644, USA
2Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, 8272 Moss Landing Road, Moss Landing, California 95039, USA
3Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, 299 Foam Street, Monterey, California 93940, USA

ABSTRACT: Seamounts are unique and biologically productive deep-sea habitats that have often been described as having high levels of endemism, highly productive fisheries, and benthic communities vulnerable to trawl fishing. We describe the abundance and distribution of benthic megafaunal invertebrates found on 3 seamounts off central and southern California. Video observations were taken during 27 dives of a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) and were annotated in detail using the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute’s (MBARI) video annotation reference system (VARS, http://vars.sourceforge.net/). Video analysis yielded 134477 observations of 202 identified invertebrate taxa. Video transects were analyzed to quantify organism density. Thirteen new species were observed and collected. Invertebrate communities at Davidson and Pioneer Seamounts were dominated by passive suspension-feeding cnidarians (mostly corals), but at Rodriguez Seamount, a guyot, the invertebrate community was dominated by holothurian echinoderms. We found no evidence of endemism among the megafauna at these 3 seamounts, which are all in close proximity to each other and the continental margin.


KEY WORDS: Seamount biology · Deep-sea corals · Seamount invertebrate communities · Endemism


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Cite this article as: Lundsten L, Barry JP, Cailliet GM, Clague DA, DeVogelaere AP, Geller JB (2009) Benthic invertebrate communities on three seamounts off southern and central California, USA. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 374:23-32

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