Underwater video offers new insights into community structure in the Grande Vasière (Bay of Biscay)

Type Article
Date 2018-09
Language English
Author(s) Merillet Laurene1, 2, Robert MarianneORCID2, Salaun Michele2, Schuck Lucie2, Mouchet Maud1, Kopp DorotheeORCID2
Affiliation(s) 1 : UMR 7204 MNHN SU CNRS, Ctr Ecol & Sci Conservat, 43 Rue Buffon, F-75005 Paris, France.
2 : Ifremer, Lab Technol & Biol Halieut, Unite Sci & Technol Halieut, 8 Rue Francois Toullec, F-56100 Lorient, France.
Source Journal Of Sea Research (1385-1101) (Elsevier Science Bv), 2018-09 , Vol. 139 , P. 1-9
DOI 10.1016/j.seares.2018.05.010
Keyword(s) Biodiversity patterns, Indicator species, Fishing and environmental variables
Abstract

Based on towed underwater videos, diversity patterns and their main environmental and anthropogenic drivers were assessed in the “Grande Vasière” (northeast Bay of Biscay), one of the main French fishing grounds. The density of bentho-demersal megafauna was recorded along 152 transects in this area in 2014. The highest number of taxa and densities were observed on the external margin of the Grande Vasière, in deep areas with low fishing intensity. The highest levels of taxa evenness were located on the central and coastal parts that are shallower and exposed to medium to high trawling intensity. Multivariate analysis identified four different communities driven by fishing intensity, depth, sediment type and bottom current speed. We distinguished three communities in the centre of the Grande Vasière covered by medium to highly trawled soft sediments and characterized by Hydrozoa, Crustacea such as Munida rugosa, Nephrops norvegicus and Goneplax rhomboides and Actinopterygii unidentified. A fourth community was identified on the external margin, deeper, undergoing lower trawling intensity than the other communities and dominated by sessile filter feeders. The fragile taxa observed in this study had almost always been unobserved by from previous studies using scientific trawl sampling. Underwater video thus allowed collecting unprecedented data by direct visualization of the seabed and the observation of fragile taxa that cannot be effectively sampled by traditional scientific sampling methods used in previous studies.

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