Physical characterisation and a biologically focused classification of “seamounts” in the New Zealand region

Rowden, A.A.; Clark, M.R.; Wright, I.C.. 2005 Physical characterisation and a biologically focused classification of “seamounts” in the New Zealand region. New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research, 39 (5). 1039-1059.

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The physical, biological, and oceanographic characteristics of seamounts of the New Zealand region of the South Pacific Ocean are poorly known. The aim of this study was to present a synopsis of the physical characteristics of seamounts within the region, and to present a preliminary classification using biologically meaningful variables. Data for up to 16 environmental variables were collated and used to describe the distribution and characteristics of the c. 800 known seamounts in the New Zealand region. Seamounts span a wide range of sizes, depths, elevation, geological associations and origins, and occur over the latitudinal range of the region, lying in different water masses of varying productivity, and both near shore and off shore. As such, it was difficult to generally describe New Zealand seamounts, as there is no “typical” feature. Thirteen environmental variables were included in a multivariate cluster analysis to identify 12 seamount similarity groupings, for a subset of over half the known seamounts. The groupings generally displayed an appreciable geographic distribution throughout the region, and were largely characterised by a combination of four variables (depth at peak, depth at base, elevation, and distance from continental shelf). In the future, the findings of the present study can be tested to determine the validity and usefulness of the approach for directing future biodiversity research and informing management of seamount habitat.

Item Type: Publication - Article
ISSN: 0028-8330
Additional Keywords: characterisation; classification; New Zealand; seamounts
Date made live: 24 Jul 2008 +0 (UTC)

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