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    High densities of pterobranchs and sea pens encountered at sites in the South Orkney Islands (Subarea 48.2): two potential VMEs

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    S.J. Lockhart and C.D. Jones (USA)

    High densities of pterobranchs (Phylum Hemichordata: Class Pterobranchia) and sea pens (Phylum Cnidaria: Order Pennatulacea), two vulnerable marine ecosystem (VME) indicator taxa, were encountered at sites on the shelf of the eastern South Orkney Islands. The details of these encounters, utilizing occurrence and abundance in bottom trawl catches, are provided. The distributions of standardized densities for these taxa reveal at least one station location for each taxa with anomalously high levels of biomass. These two stations should be considered for designation as VMEs. This proposal is structured according to the guidelines set out in Conservation Measure 22-06 (2009), ANNEX 22-06/B.