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Linking large-scale circulation patterns to the distribution of cold water corals along the eastern Rockall Bank (northeast Atlantic)
Schulz, K.; Soetaert, K.; Mohn, C.; Korte, L.F.; Mienis, F.; Duineveld, G.C.A.; van Oevelen, D. (2020). Linking large-scale circulation patterns to the distribution of cold water corals along the eastern Rockall Bank (northeast Atlantic). J. Mar. Syst. 212: 103456.
In: Journal of Marine Systems. Elsevier: Tokyo; Oxford; New York; Amsterdam. ISSN 0924-7963; e-ISSN 1879-1573, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 

Author keywords
    Northeast Atlantic; Rockall trough; Cold-water corals; WTOW

Authors  Top 
  • Schulz, K.
  • Soetaert, K., more
  • Mohn, C.
  • Korte, L.F., more
  • Mienis, F., more
  • Duineveld, G.C.A., more
  • van Oevelen, D., more

    Cold-water corals (CWC) are known to tolerate a relatively wide range of environmental conditions. However, along the basin margins of the Rockall Trough (NE Atlantic), the habitat of CWC is confined to a narrow range of 525–1200 m water depth, and the reason for that is not fully understood. To investigate the distribution of CWCs in this area, current velocities and water mass distribution in the Logachev Mound Province were measured with two long-term (1 year) moorings equipped with an acoustic doppler current profiler and fluorescence+turbidity sensors. Additional ship-based water column profiles and discrete water samples, covering a full diurnal tidal cycle, were taken for chemical parameters. The results indicate the presence of a boundary current along the eastern flank of the Rockall Bank, that transports a nutrient-rich water mass southwards and governs the direction of particle transport at the depth band of the CWC mounds. Based on literature results, this northern water mass is identified as Wyville Thomson Ridge Overflow Water (WTOW). The density envelope and depth distribution of WTOW match the reported occurrence of CWC mounds in the Rockall Trough. Hence, the presence of WTOW may be a necessary condition for coral growth and therefore mound formation in the Rockall Trough, e.g. by forming a conduit for particles and coral larvae.

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