Visual evidence of reduced seafloor conditions and indications of a cold-seep ecosystem from the Hatton–Rockall basin (NE Atlantic)

High definition video from a towed camera system was used to describe the deep-sea benthic habitats within an elongate depression located at the western margin of Rockall Bank in the Hatton–Rockall Basin.

At depths greater than 1190 m, an extensive area (10 km long by 1.5 km wide) of what appeared to be reduced sediments, bacterial mats and flocculent matter indicated possible cold-seep habitat. Plumes of sediment-rich fluid were observed alongside raised elongate features that gave topographic relief to the otherwise flat seafloor. In the deepest section of the depression (1215 m) dense flocculent matter was observed suspended in the water column, in places obscuring the seabed. Away from the bacterial mats, the habitat changed rapidly to sediments dominated by tube-dwelling polychaete worms and then to deep-sea sedimentary habitats more typical for the water depth (sponges and burrowing megafauna in areas of gentle slopes, and coral gardens on steeper slopes).

Authors:

Neat FC, Jamieson JA, Stewart HA, Narayanaswamy BE, Collie N, Stewart M, Linley TD

Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the UK
03, 27, 2018
Pages:
DOI: 10.1017/S0025315418000115