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Deep-sea fish distribution varies between seamounts: results from a seamount complex off New Zealand.


ABSTRACT: Fish species data from a complex of seamounts off New Zealand termed the "Graveyard Seamount Complex' were analysed to investigate whether fish species composition varied between seamounts. Five seamount features were included in the study, with summit depths ranging from 748-891 m and elevation from 189-352 m. Measures of fish species dominance, rarity, richness, diversity, and similarity were examined. A number of factors were explored to explain variation in species composition, including latitude, water temperature, summit depth, depth at base, elevation, area, slope, and fishing effort. Depth at base and slope relationships were significant with shallow seamounts having high total species richness, and seamounts with a more gradual slope had high mean species richness. Species similarity was modelled and showed that the explanatory variables were driven primarily by summit depth, as well as by the intensity of fishing effort and elevation. The study showed that fish assemblages on seamounts can vary over very small spatial scales, in the order of several km. However, patterns of species similarity and abundance were inconsistent across the seamounts examined, and these results add to a growing literature suggesting that faunal communities on seamounts may be populated from a broad regional species pool, yet show considerable variation on individual seamounts.

SUBMITTER: Tracey DM 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC3380042 | BioStudies | 2012-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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