MEPS 389:223-232 (2009)  -  doi:10.3354/meps08181

Ichthyofauna on three seamounts off southern and central California, USA

Lonny Lundsten1,*, Craig R. McClain1,2, James P. Barry1, Gregor M. Cailliet3, David A. Clague1, Andrew P. DeVogelaere4

1Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, 7700 Sandholdt Road, Moss Landing, California 95039-9644, USA
2National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, Duke University, 2024 West Main Street, Durham, North Carolina 27707, USA
3Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, Moss Landing, California 95039, USA
3Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, 299 Foam Street, Monterey, California 93940, USA

ABSTRACT: In many regions of the world, commercial fisheries for seamount-aggregating species have collapsed. Most are trawl fisheries, which have been implicated in the destruction and loss of fragile coral and sponge habitat and potentially endemic seamount species. Even with the intense fishing effort over seamounts, our understanding of processes regulating the distribution and abundance of seamount fish assemblages, which is vital to conservation policy, is weak. Here, we describe the abundance and distribution of demersal fishes 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). Video analysis yielded 2151 observations of 36 identified taxa. No aggregations of fishes were observed during the surveys. Video transects were analyzed to quantify organism density. Similarity among seamounts was compared using Bray-Curtis similarity estimates. Our results indicate high similarity among seamount faunas at similar depths, a shift from provincial to abyssal/cosmopolitan species with increased depth, and no evidence of seamount endemism.

KEY WORDS: Seamount fishes · Seamount biology · California seamounts · Deep sea fishes · Seamount ecology · Deep sea ecology

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Cite this article as: Lundsten L, McClain CR, Barry JP, Cailliet GM, Clague DA, DeVogelaere AP (2009) Ichthyofauna on three seamounts off southern and central California, USA. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 389:223-232

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