scientific article | Deep Sea Res Part 2 Trop Stud Oceanogr
de Matos V, Gomes-Pereira JN, Tempera F, Ribeiro PA, Braga-Henriques A, Porteiro F
The first record of Antipathella subpinnata (Ellis and Solander, 1786) for the Azores archipelago is presented based on bottom longline by-catch analysis and ROV seafloor surveys, extending the species western-most boundary of distribution in the NE Atlantic. The species was determined using classic taxonomy and molecular analysis targeting nuclear DNA. Although maximum spine height on Azorean colonies branchlets is slightly smaller than that reported from Mediterranean colonies (0.12 vs 0.16 mm), the analysis of partial 18S rDNA, complete ITS1, 5.8S, ITS2 and partial 28S rDNA suggests that the Azorean and Mediterranean specimens belong to the same species. Video surveys of an A. subpinnata garden detected near Pico Island are used to provide the first in situ description of the species habitat in the region and the first detailed description of a black coral garden in the NE Atlantic. With A. subpinnata being the only coral found between 150 and 196 m depths, this is the deepest black coral garden recorded in the NE Atlantic and the first one to be monospecific. The species exhibited a maximum density of 2.64 colonies/m2 and occurred across a surface area estimated at 67,333 m2 , yielding a local population estimate of 50,500 colonies.