Distribution of deep-sea corals in the Newfoundland and Labrador region, Northwest Atlantic Ocean
Abstract:Deep-sea corals were mapped using incidental by-catch samples from stock assessment surveys and fisheries observations. Thirteen alcyonaceans, two antipatharians, four solitary scleractinians, and 11 pennatulaceans were recorded. Corals were broadly distributed along the continental shelf edge and slope, with most species found deeper than 200 m; only nephtheid soft corals were found on the shelf. Large branching corals with robust skeletons included Paragorgia arborea (Linnaeus, 1758), Primnoa resedaeformis (Gunnerus, 1763), Keratoisis ornata (Verrill, 1878), Acanthogorgia armata (Verrill, 1878), Paramuricea spp., and two antipatharians. Coral distributions were highly clustered, with most co-occurring with other species. Scientific survey data delineated two broad coral species richness hotspots: southwest Grand Bank (16 spp.) and an area of the Labrador slope between Makkovik Bank and Belle Isle Bank (14 spp.). Fisheries observations indicated abundant or diverse corals off southeast Baffin Island, Cape Chidley, Labrador, Tobin's Point, and the Flemish Cap. Corals on the Flemish Cap comprised exclusively soft coral, sea pens, and solitary scleractinians. Most coral-rich areas were suggested in earlier research based on stock assessment surveys or Local Environmental Knowledge (LEK). Currently there are no conservation measures in place to protect deep-sea coral in this region.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 2007-11-01
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