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Crustaceans associated with the deep-water gorgonian corals Paragorgia arborea (L., 1758) and Primnoa resedaeformis (Gunn., 1763)

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To explore the crustacean fauna associated with deep-water gorgonian corals, suction samples were taken from colonies of Paragorgia arborea and Primnoa resedaeformis using a Remotely Operated Vehicle. Seven colonies of P. arborea and eight of P. resedaeformis were sampled from 330-500 m depth in the Northeast Channel off Nova Scotia. A total of 17 species were identified as being associated with the corals. The P. arborea fauna was richer than the P. resedaeformis fauna in both abundance and number of species, with 1303 versus 102 individuals and 16 versus seven species, respectively. However, 13 of the species associated with P. arborea were from hydroids attached to the coral. Amphipods dominated the fauna both in abundance and numbers of species and the most common species were Metopa bruzelii, Stenopleustes malmgreni, Proboloides calcarata and Aeginella spinosa. The isopod Munna boecki and the cirripede Ornatoscalpellum stroemii were also quite common. The most strongly associated crustaceans were two parasitic poecilostomatid copepods; these are common also on tropical gorgonians and are most likely obligate associates. The frequently occurring shrimp Pandalus propinquus probably avoids predation by seeking protection among the coral branches. Shrimp counts from video records showed that visual inspection without physically disturbing colonies will generally not reveal the crustaceans hidden in coral colonies. The galatheid Eumunida picta was observed on P. resedaeformis colonies. The fauna of the deep-water gorgonians corresponded to the fauna of tropical shallow-water gorgonians in the numerical dominance of amphipods and parasitic copepods; however, species richness is higher and decapods, which constitute a rich fauna on tropical gorgonians, were only represented by two species.
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Keywords: Deep-water corals; Nova Scotia; Paragorgia arborea; Primnoa resedaeformis; associated crustaceans; remotely operated vehicle

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Fisheries and Oceans Marine Environmental Sciences Division, Bedford Institute of Oceanography PO Box 1006 Dartmouth NS B2Y 4A2 Canada, Email: [email protected]

Publication date: January 1, 2004

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