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An association between a cusk eel (Bassozetus sp.) and a black coral (Schizopathes sp.) in the deep western Indian Ocean

Gates, Andrew R.; Morris, Kirsty J.; Jones, Daniel O.B.; Sulak, Kenneth J.. 2017 An association between a cusk eel (Bassozetus sp.) and a black coral (Schizopathes sp.) in the deep western Indian Ocean. Marine Biodiversity, 47 (3). 971-977. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12526-016-0516-z

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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017 This document is the author’s final manuscript version of the journal article, incorporating any revisions agreed during the peer review process. Some differences between this and the publisher’s version remain. You are advised to consult the publisher’s version if you wish to cite from this article. The final publication is available at Springer via https://doi.org/10.1007/s12526-016-0516-z
Antipatharian and bassozetus association_Gates_MarBio_accepted.pdf - Accepted Version
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Abstract/Summary

Detailed observations in the deep sea can reveal previously unknown behaviour, species interactions and fine-scale habitat heterogeneity. Here, the first in situ images of the black coral Schizopathes sp. (Anthozoa: Antipatharia) in the deep western Indian Ocean have been obtained from remotely operated vehicle video footage and time-lapse photography. In these images, there appears to be an association with the cusk eel Bassozetus (Family: Ophidiidae). In the primary observation, chance encounters revealed the fish interacted with the anitpatharian on multiple occasions over several days. Subsequent time-lapse camera footage showed the fish remained almost exclusively underneath the antipatharian for the duration of a 30-h deployment. Excursions from the cover of the antipatharian were for less than 2 min. The primary observation is supported by two similar encounters in the same region. Observed reduction in the tail-beat frequency of the fish under the antipatharian suggests reduced energy requirements for the ophidiid in this position. The observations demonstrate the role that even individual coral colonies play as a source of three-dimensional structure, providing habitat heterogeneity in the deep sea.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): https://doi.org/10.1007/s12526-016-0516-z
ISSN: 1867-1616
Date made live: 21 Sep 2017 12:24 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/517887

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