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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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An assemblage including corals, crinoids, ascidians and brittlestars on Rumble II West seamount, in the vicinity of SMS deposits. Image: NIWA

Boschen RE, Rowden AA, Clark MR, Barton SJ, Pallentin A, Gardner JPA


Megabenthic assemblage structure on three New Zealand seamounts: implications for seafloor massive sulfide mining


Seamounts are widely recognized for their biological importance, with increasing interest in their mineral wealth. However, seamounts are highly variable in terms of habitat availability and very little is known about the benthic ecology of mineral deposits. Boschen and colleagues characterise the megabenthic assemblage structure of three New Zealand seamounts in an area previously licensed for Seafloor Massive Sulfide (SMS) mining. Patterns in assemblage structure were different both amongst and within seamounts with assemblages unique to each seamount. This has implications for the environmental management of seamounts in the region. To protect the range of assemblages present from SMS mining impacts, it may be necessary to conserve multiple seamounts or a network of sites distributed within and amongst neighbouring seamounts.


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