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Benthic biodiversity in the South Orkney Islands Southern Shelf Marine Protected Area


Brasier, MJ and Grant, SM and Trathan, PN and Allcock, L and Ashford, O and Blagbrough, H and Brandt, A and Danis, B and Downey, R and Eleaume, MP and Enderlein, P and Ghiglione, C and Hogg, O and Linse, K and Mackenzie, M and Moreau, C and Robinson, LF and Rodriguez, E and Spiridonov, V and Tate, A and Taylor, M and Waller, C and Wiklund, H and Griffiths, HJ, Benthic biodiversity in the South Orkney Islands Southern Shelf Marine Protected Area, Biodiversity, 19, (1-2) pp. 5-19. ISSN 1488-8386 (2018) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

© 2018 Biodiversity Conservancy International

DOI: doi:10.1080/14888386.2018.1468821


The South Orkney Islands Southern Shelf (SOISS) Marine Protected Area (MPA) was the first MPA to be designated entirely within the high seas and is managed under the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR). To assist with research and monitoring of the MPA, an international expedition (‘SO-AntEco’) was undertaken in the austral summer of 2016 to contribute towards a better understanding of selected benthic habitats within the region. The benthic assemblages of the SOISS MPA region were found to be strongly correlated with the texture of the seafloor, where hard substrates hosted a greater number of individuals, taxa and biomass with a dominance of filter feeding vulnerable marine ecosystem (VME) taxa, and soft sediments were dominated mostly by deposit feeders. Substantial differences in the abundance of VME taxa were found between sampling gears (shallow underwater camera system and Agassiz trawl). We conclude that camera systems may be more suitable for VME assessments, but additional trawling is advisable for collecting all faunal types and for higher taxonomic resolution. The designation of VME locations based purely on large scale geomorphic classification is not advisable, due to small scale variation in substrate and other local physical influences.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Southern Ocean, Antarctica, benthos, protected area, vulnerable marine ecosystems
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology)
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Management of Antarctic and Southern Ocean environments
Objective Field:Assessment and management of Antarctic and Southern Ocean ecosystems
UTAS Author:Brasier, MJ (Dr Madeleine Brasier)
ID Code:146249
Year Published:2018
Deposited By:Fisheries and Aquaculture
Deposited On:2021-08-26
Last Modified:2021-09-29

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