Persistence and Variation on the Groundfish Assemblages on the Southern Grand Banks (NAFO Divisions 3NO): 2002-2011
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Data from EU-Spain (Instituto Español de Oceanografía) bottom trawl surveys in the NAFO Regulatory Area (2002- 2011) were analyzed to examine evolution patterns in the Southern of Grand Banks (NAFO Div. 3NO) groundfish assemblage structure in relation to depth. The 1160 hauls from the slope surveys spanned between 38 and 1460 m in depth. We focused on the 28 most abundant species, which made up 92.6 % of the catch in terms of biomass. The fish biodiversity results (221 fish species) are higher than in other ecosystems, and the highest value is reached in the deeper assemblage, with diversity H=2.23. Assemblage structure was strongly correlated with depth. For the most part, changes in assemblages seem to be fairly continuous although there were more-abrupt changes at 300 m. Three main groups and five assemblages were identified. Cluster I (Shallow) comprised the strata with depths lesser than 300 m; cluster II (Intermediate) contained the depth strata between 301 and 1000 m and ...
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