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Visual faunistic exploration of geomorphological human-impacted deep-sea areas of the north-western Mediterranean Sea

  • Ariadna Mecho (a1), Jacopo Aguzzi (a2), Ben De Mol (a3), Galderic Lastras (a4), Eva Ramirez-Llodra (a5), Nixon Bahamon (a6), Joan B. Company (a2) and Miquel Canals (a4)...
Abstract

This study reports the composition and distribution of demersal megafauna from various north-western Mediterranean submarine areas such as canyons, seamounts and landslides between 60–800 m depth, based on remotely operated vehicle (ROV) observations. From a total of 30 h of video, 4534 faunistic observations were made and analysed in relationship to environmental factors (i.e. topography, substrate type and depth). In addition, anthropogenic impact was quantified by grouping observations in four categories: fishing nets, longlines, trawl marks and other litter. The different targeted environments showed similarities in faunal composition according to substrate, depth and topography. Our results also indicated the presence of anthropogenic impact in all the sampled areas in which litter and trawl marks were the most observed artefacts.

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Corresponding author
Correspondence should be addressed to: A. Mecho, Universidad Católica del Norte, Millennium Nucleus of Ecology and Sustainable Management of Oceanic Island (ESMOI), Larrondo 1281, Coquimbo, Chile. email: ariadna.mecho@ucn.cl
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