Project Title: Differences Between Mid and Outer Continental Shelf Mesophotic Communities in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico
Goal or Purpose

To characterize and define differences between mid shelf and outer shelf mesophotic communities in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico.

Anticipated Management Application(s)

The ability to effectively manage resources is greatly enhanced by the correct identification and classification of the habitat. Different habitats may require different management strategies, and therefore identifying unique habitats is paramount to effective management. This project will identify the differences between mesophotic communities in mid shelf and outer shelf environments in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico, highlighting two distinct habitats.

The results from this study will feed directly into management strategies for the FGBNMS as they move forward with boundary expansion. Biological communities are a key component in the consideration of an area for boundary expansion, and the identification of unique mid shelf mesophotic communities will help identify areas of interest for expansion. In addition, this information will be used to inform the ongoing GMFMC process to identify mesophotic coral HAPCs. The results from this study will likely be applicable to other reefs and banks along the Continental shelf in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico, and perhaps other regions, highlighting the need for distinct research and management strategies for these unique habitats.

Fiscal Funding:
  • FY 2015 @ $13,000

 
Region(s):
  • Gulf of Mexico Council
Location(s):
  •  None Defined.
Project Type:
  • Data Mining
Point of Contact: Office of the Point of Contact:
  • NOS FGBNMS
Team Members:
  •  None Defined.
Project Title: Differences Between Mid and Outer Continental Shelf Mesophotic Communities in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico
Methods/Approach

Downward facing digital still images were collected by ROV, between 50-m and 177-m depth, along random transect lines of rock substrate habitat associated with each feature of interest. Species accumulation curves were used to identify the number of images to be analyzed per transect to adequately capture species diversity. A total of 55 images were processed for 13 of the banks visited. Each image was analyzed to identify the percent cover of biotic and abiotic components. Ocotocorals, antipatharians, and stony and soft corals have all been identified to the lowest possible taxonomic level, and colony counts recorded per image.

 

Data from each image will be weighted by image area (captured using mounted laser beams in the field of view of each image). Analyses will be performed using non-parametric techniques to test for dissimilarities between communities of mid shelf and outer shelf banks. Analysis will be conducted using similarity matrices in the PRIMER V6 software, utilizing ANOSIM, CLUSTER, MDS, and SIMPER analyses. 

Project Results and Management Outcomes  None Defined
Project Title: Differences Between Mid and Outer Continental Shelf Mesophotic Communities in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico
Internal References:
  •  None Defined
 
Backlinks:
  •  None Defined

There are currently no items to list.