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    Remote visual techniques for research and monitoring of marine communities in fast ice-covered coastal areas of the Ross Sea Region MPA

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    Document Number:
    E. Carlig, L. Ghigliotti, S. Canese, D. Di Blasi, M. Vacchi and S. Grant
    Submitted By:
    Dr Erica Carlig (Italy)
    Approved By:
    Dr Marino Vacchi (Italy)

    Silverfish Bay is an area of high ecological value, included in ASPA No. 173 and in the Ross Sea region MPA (General Protection Zone (i)). Despite its importance, different sectors are to date underexplored, such as the little-known shelf benthic communities that live at depths between 150 and 550 metres in areas periodically covered by sea ice. Videos collected by means of Baited Remote Underwater Video systems (BRUVs) for the study of distribution and abundance of Antarctic toothfish (Dissostichus mawsoni) in such zones gave us the opportunity to investigate the associated benthic communities. Here we present a methodology to take advantage of the videos collected by means of BRUVs to identify benthic organisms. From 8 stations representative of different habitats video-sampled in 2017 and 2018, a total of 26 taxa belonging to 4 phyla were identified. Future samplings, additional stations and replicates will improve the investigation and study of how the communities vary on the basis of different environmental factors.