Ecosystems of the Mauritanian slope: an overview
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Mauritanian slope is one of the most interesting marine regions in the East Atlantic, both at geomorphologic and hydrological levels, characterized by enormous mud-slides, wide and deep canyons and a giant cold-water coral reef, as well as sedimentary features influenced by the Saharan dust, Canary Current and upwelling system. Little was known on the biodiversity and composition of the deep benthic ecosystems in Northwest Africa until the onset of the Spanish multidisciplinary research program (Maurit surveys). The four Spanish cruises carried out annually between 2007 and 2010, covered with multibeam echosounder the totality of the area, performing a lot of oceanographic and biological stations using different sampler gears. It has allowed a detailed cartography of the upper and middle slope, the characterization of the main vulnerable habitats and a first overview of the epibenthos biodiversity. Obvious differences in diversity and composition between soft and hard bottoms assemblages ...
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