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Lower bathyal and abyssal distribution of coral in the axial volcanic ridge of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge at 45°N

Morris, Kirsty; Tyler, Paul A.; Murton, Bramley; Rogers, Alex D.. 2012 Lower bathyal and abyssal distribution of coral in the axial volcanic ridge of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge at 45°N. Deep Sea Research Part I Oceanographic Research Papers, 62. 32-39. 10.1016/j.dsr.2011.11.009

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Abstract/Summary

The deep-sea floor below 3000 m occupies 50% of the surface of the planet and is composed mainly of fine sediments. Most studies of deep-sea benthic fauna have concentrated on soft sediments with little sampling in rocky areas and even less on non-vent mid-ocean ridges. To assess the distribution and abundance of coral between 2500 m and 3500 m depths, video footage from the ROV Isis taken during a cruise to the Axial Volcanic Ridge (AVR) of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge at approx 45°30′ N was analysed. Abundances per 100 m were calculated and mapped using Arc GIS, with a maximum of 59 being observed. 20 putative species were identified. Scleractinia were absent from the observed area and the coral fauna was dominated by Octocorallia. The data were separated into four substratum types, sediment, sloped rock, flat rock and mixed substratum, with both abundance and community being compared. Sedimented and rocky areas had different coral communities with sediment having a higher occurrence of Pennatulidae and Chrysogorgidae than rock. Sloped rock had the highest abundance of corals. We suggest that this increase in abundance reflects higher food availability as well as the solid substratum on which coral larvae settle.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1016/j.dsr.2011.11.009
Programmes: NOC Programmes
ISSN: 09670637
Additional Keywords: Mid Atlantic Ridge; Corals; Rock; Gorgonians; Octocorals
Date made live: 13 Apr 2012 10:40 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/437009

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