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Defining biological assemblages (biotopes) of conservation interest in the submarine canyons of the South West Approaches (offshore United Kingdom) for use in marine habitat mapping

Davies, Jaime S.; Howell, Kerry L.; Stewart, Heather A.; Guinan, Janine; Golding, Neil. 2014 Defining biological assemblages (biotopes) of conservation interest in the submarine canyons of the South West Approaches (offshore United Kingdom) for use in marine habitat mapping. Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography, 104. 208-229. 10.1016/j.dsr2.2014.02.001

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Davies et al 2014_SW Approaches canyons biology.pdf - Accepted Version

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Abstract/Summary

In 2007, the upper part of a submarine canyon system located in water depths between 138 and 1165 m in the South West (SW) Approaches (North East Atlantic Ocean) was surveyed over a 2 week period. High-resolution multibeam echosounder data covering 1106 km2, and 44 ground-truthing video and image transects were acquired to characterise the biological assemblages of the canyons. The SW Approaches is an area of complex terrain, and intensive ground-truthing revealed the canyons to be dominated by soft sediment assemblages. A combination of multivariate analysis of seabed photographs (184–1059 m) and visual assessment of video ground-truthing identified 12 megabenthic assemblages (biotopes) at an appropriate scale to act as mapping units. Of these biotopes, 5 adhered to current definitions of habitats of conservation concern, 4 of which were classed as Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems. Some of the biotopes correspond to descriptions of communities from other megahabitat features (for example the continental shelf and seamounts), although it appears that the canyons host modified versions, possibly due to the inferred high rates of sedimentation in the canyons. Other biotopes described appear to be unique to canyon features, particularly the sea pen biotope consisting of Kophobelemnon stelliferum and cerianthids.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1016/j.dsr2.2014.02.001
ISSN: 09670645
Date made live: 13 Mar 2014 10:21 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/505871

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