Using demersal longline data for predicting habitat suitability of two cold-water coral species at Condor seamount (NE Atlantic)

Seamounts are underwater mountains that can host a variety of life, being cold-water corals amongst the most common sessile inhabitants. Although cold-water coral conservation is a priority since they were designated as vulnerable marine ecosystems (VMEs), their geographical distribution remains largely unknown. To try to overcome this limitation, habitat suitability models have been used lately to predict coral distribution. In this study, bycatch data from demersal longlines surveys, together with environmental variables, were used to predict the distribution of the two coral species Dentomuricea aff. meteor and Viminella flagellum at Condor seamount, Azores archipelago. The summit of the seamount is predicted as highly suitable for both species, with some areas appearing to be highly vulnerable to longlines, even with low fishing effort. Due to some limitation in the data used, models can be refined in the future to get more accurate predictions. However, in order to protect these VMEs, the permanent closure of the summit until 300m depth should be proposed in the management plan of Condor seamount.

Promotor(s) & Supervisor: Gui Menezes, Eva Giacomello

ISCED Categories

The highlighted icons, represent the fields of education (in compliance with ISCED Classification) engaged during this course/programme.

0511 - Biology", "0588 - Scientific modelling", "0521 - Ecology