A Pictorial Guide to the Epibenthic Megafauna of Orphan Knoll (northwest Atlantic) Identified from In Situ Benthic Video Footage

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Wudrick, A; Beazley, L; Culwick, T; Goodwin, C; Cárdenas, P; Xavier, J; Kenchington, E (2020). Can. Tech. Rep. Fish. Aquat. Sci. https://zenodo.org/record/3835865.


In 2010, Fisheries and Oceans Canada led a multidisciplinary oceanographic research mission onboard the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Hudson to the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization Regulatory Area to collect benthic imagery and geological data in support of the identification of vulnerable marine ecosystems. Using the remotely operated vehicle ROPOS, six benthic video transects were collected on Orphan Knoll, a submerged circular continental fragment located 550 km northeast of St. John’s, Newfoundland. High-resolution video footage, digital still images, and specimen samples were collected between 1655 and 3004 m depth across the flanks and plateau of the knoll and Orphan Seamount. In 2007, the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization implemented a ~15,800 km2 closure over Orphan Knoll to restrict the use of bottom- tending fishing gear in accordance with United Nations General Assembly Resolution 61/105. However, at the time, its benthic communities and the presence of vulnerable marine ecosystems had not been fully assessed. Here we present a pictorial guide to the epibenthic megafauna enumerated and taxonomically identified from five ROPOS transects collected on Orphan Knoll and Orphan Seamount. The purpose of this report is to provide a visual representation and taxonomic nomenclature scheme of the epibenthic megafauna of Orphan Knoll for use in future monitoring of the benthic communities of this unique topographic feature.


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