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Title

Visual monitoring of key deep-sea megafauna with an Internet Operated crawler as a tool for ecological status assessment

AuthorsChatzievangelou, Damianos; Aguzzi, Jacopo ; Ogston, Andrea S.; Suárez, Alejandro; Thomsen, L.
KeywordsCrawler
Barkley Canyon hydrates
Poison modeling
Deep-sea monitoring
Food pulses
Seafloor disturbance
Issue DateMay-2020
PublisherElsevier
CitationProgress in Oceanography 184: 102321 (2020)
AbstractThe spatio-temporal distribution of seven abundant morphospecies (i.e. taxa identified based on morphological traits) and the diversity of the benthic megafaunal community at the Barkley Canyon hydrates site (870 m, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada) were assessed in 18 linear imaging transects (each transect ~30 m long), conducted with an Internet Operated Deep-sea Crawler in November 2016. Faunal counts (as proxy for local abundances) were treated as Poisson-behaving variables and were modeled and correlated to habitat quality (i.e. level of physical seafloor disturbance, as previously induced by the crawler), fluctuating oceanographic conditions (i.e. tides and currents, seasonal transitions and episodic particle fluxes) and temporally and spatially varying food availability (i.e. elevated chlorophyll levels, proximity to the hydrate mounds as additional energy sources). The model outcome was used to establish a potential trigger-notification procedure for substrate disturbance monitoring when ratios of faunal abundances exceed the expected range for any morphospecies. Finally, a quality assessment of the crawler’s performance as a multidisciplinary monitoring platform was performed using individual and morphospecies accumulation curves, which aids in optimizing and standardizing data collection protocols. We showed that the abundances and diversity of hydrates megafaunal community differed in relation to physical seafloor disturbance, proximity to the hydrate mounds and episodic food input, at varying degrees. Our work sets a solid base for the future real-time, long-term monitoring of ecosystem functioning and health status in deep-sea areas exposed to industrial substrate alterations (i.e. mining, fisheries, etc.)
Description11 pages, 4 figures, 4 tables, supplementary material https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pocean.2020.102321.-- All environmental data are available in Supplementary Tables S1.1 to S1.4. All raw images are archived and can be downloaded from the Oceans 2.0 Ocean Networks Canada online database, using the following link: https://data.oceannetworks.ca/DataSearch?location=BACWL.V3&deviceCategory=VIDEOCAM
Publisher version (URL)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pocean.2020.102321
URIhttp://hdl.handle.net/10261/209357
DOI10.1016/j.pocean.2020.102321
Identifiersdoi: 10.1016/j.pocean.2020.102321
issn: 0079-6611
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