Deep-sea cnidarians of Northwest Africa: Distribution patterns
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AuthorsRamil, F. (Francisco); Matos-Pita, S.S. (Susana Soto) de; Gil, M. (Marta); Castillo, S. (Sara); Ramos, A. (Ana)
Cnidarians are one of the most relevant phylum in deep-waters, where Scleractinia, Alcyonacea and Antipatharia may build three-dimensional habitats which host some of the most biodiverse and vulnerable marine ecosystems (‘hot-spots’) along the continental margins. Although ancient expeditions recorded the existence of Lophelia pertusa on the Moroccan, Western Saharan and Mauritanian slopes, the distribution of this cold-water coral and other related vulnerable species in Northwest African is currently unknown. The intensive benthic sampling program developed in the CCLME region from 2002 to 2012 within the framework of the EcoAfrik and FAO EAF-Nansen projects, has allowed to obtain a first insight of the biodiversity and distribution patterns of the cnidarians along the deep-shelf and slope of Northwest Africa. This work analyzes the quantitative data of nine cnidarian taxa (Hydrozoa, Scyphozoa, Alcyonacea, Pennatulacea, Antipatharia, Ceriantharia, Zoantharia, Actiniaria and Scleractinia) ...
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