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    Vulnerable marine ecosystems documented via submarine in the Bransfield Strait and the Eastern Antarctic Peninsula (Subarea 48.1)

    Request Meeting Document
    Document Number:
    WG-EMM-2022/46 Rev. 1
    S.J. Lockhart, R. Downey, R. García-Roa, J. Hocevar and L. Meller
    Submitted By:
    Dr Anton Van de Putte (Belgium)
    Approved By:
    Dr Anton Van de Putte (Belgium)

    Ten submarines dives were conducted in Subarea 48.1 in 2022 (GP22). Seven sites are proposed herein as VMEs based on high abundances of VME indicator taxa that cluster with, and in many cases, exceed abundances of previously registered VMEs. Video imagery was taken via submarine and data on the relative percent cover of all VME indicator taxa was sourced and analysed in the same manner to VMEs added to CCAMLR’s registry in 2018 (SC-CCAMLR-XXXVII) using all data from WG-EMM-18/35 for a direct comparison. Seven of the ten GP22 dives cluster with the three VMEs registered in 2018 via this method. Many are spectacularly diverse in sponges and corals which provide habitat and shelter for many other benthic organisms. These sites and the evidence provided herein illustrate well the impressive complexity of structure formed by diverse indicator species that typifies benthic communities of this region.