Variability of deep-sea megabenthic assemblages along the western pathway of the Mediterranean outflow water
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AuthorsPuerta, P. (Patricia); Mosquera-Giménez, A. (Ángela); Reñones, O. (Olga); Domínguez-Carrió, Carlos; Rueda, J.L. (José Luis); Urra, J. (Javier); Carreiro-Silva, Marina; Blasco-Ferre, Jordi; Santana, Yaiza; Gutiérrez-Zárate, C. (Cristina); Vélez-Belchí, P. (Pedro); Rivera, J. (Jesús); Morato, Telmo; Orejas, C. (Covadonga)
KeywordsDeep-sea benthic habitats
Mediterranean outflow water
Vulnerable marine ecosystems
The presence of different water masses in depth may influence the species distribution and community structure in deep-sea benthic ecosystems. In the North Atlantic, the Mediterranean Outflow Water (MOW) represents an important forcing water mass, whose influence on the distribution of cold-water corals in the northern European margins has been particularly investigated. However, the MOW also spreads westwards into the central North Atlantic bathing several seamounts and seafloor elevations, whose deep-sea benthic communities are still poorly known. In this study, we provide a local to large-scale comprehensive description of deep-sea megabenthic assemblages along the western branch of the MOW, from its origin in the western Mediterranean Sea to the Central North Atlantic close to the Azores archipelago. For some of the studied seafloor elevations, such as Ormonde (Gorringe bank, offshore SW Portugal margin) and Formigas seamounts (SE Azores archipelago), this is the first time these ...
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