Inter-Research > MEPS > v445 > p235-249  
MEPS
Marine Ecology Progress Series

via Mailchimp

MEPS 445:235-249 (2012)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps09448

Distributional patterns of deep-sea coral assemblages in three submarine canyons off Newfoundland, Canada

Krista D. Baker1,*, Vonda E. Wareham3, Paul V. R. Snelgrove1, Richard L. Haedrich1, David A. Fifield4, Evan N. Edinger1,2, Kent D. Gilkinson3

1Biology Department and 2Geography Department, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John’s, Newfoundland A1B 3X9, Canada
3Fisheries & Oceans Canada, Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Centre, St. John’s, Newfoundland A1C 5X1, Canada
4Cognitive & Behavioural Ecology Program, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John’s, Newfoundland A1B 3X7, Canada
*Email:

ABSTRACT: Deep-sea corals are fragile and long-lived species that provide important habitat for a variety of taxa. The rarity of in situ observations in deep waters off Newfoundland, Canada, motivated the first extensive deep-sea research cruise to that region in 2007. We conducted 7 dives in 3 canyons (Haddock Channel, Halibut Channel, and Desbarres Canyon) with ROPOS (Remotely Operated Platform for Ocean Science). Over 160000 coral colonies were enumerated and, of the 28 species found, Acanella arbuscula, Pennatula spp., and Flabellum spp. were most frequently observed. The largest coral observed was Keratoisis grayi at over 2 m in height. Corals spanned the entire depth range sampled (351 to 2245 m) and inhabited all bottom types surveyed, but boulder and cobble habitats were most species-rich. Assemblages differed significantly with depth class and bottom type. The unique assemblage at outcrops was strongly driven by the presence of Desmophyllum dianthus. Keratoisis grayi, D. dianthus, and Anthomastus spp. were largely absent in mud-sand habitats. Sea pen meadows covered large tracts of muddy seafloor spanning >1 km. Acanella arbuscula and Flabellum spp. characterised large coral fields with abundant corals but relatively low species richness. These results highlight not only the importance of hard structure in determining patterns of coral distributions, abundances, and assemblages, but also the need to focus conservation efforts on a variety of habitats to ensure protection for the full suite of deep-sea coral species.    


KEY WORDS: Deep-sea corals · Assemblage patterns · Abundance · Conservation


Full text in pdf format 
Cite this article as: Baker KD, Wareham VE, Snelgrove PVR, Haedrich RL, Fifield DA, Edinger EN, Gilkinson KD (2012) Distributional patterns of deep-sea coral assemblages in three submarine canyons off Newfoundland, Canada. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 445:235-249. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps09448

Export citation
Mail this link - Contents Mailing Lists - RSS
Facebook - - linkedIn