New evidence to support the distribution of dense hydrocoral-sponge communities along George V slope, East Antarctica

J. Smith*, Alexandra L. Post, P. E. O'Brien, M. J. Riddle

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Shelf-incising canyons on the upper continental slope are important conduits for the export of dense, organic-rich shelf waters from the East Antarctic margin. This interaction of geomorphic features and oceanography plays an important role in controlling benthic community composition in this environment. Dense hydrocoral-sponge communities have been identified at new sites within a shelf-incising canyon on the upper continental slope (430-640 m) off George V Land, East Antarctica, adjacent to sites previously identified and declared Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems by the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources. Sparse hydrocoral communities were also found at several sites along the continental slope receiving dense shelf waters. These findings provide further evidence of hydrocoral communities along the George V Land slope and support previous hypotheses regarding the importance of Antarctic Bottom Water export from the shelf providing an abundant food source for the benthos within shelf-incising canyons.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSeafloor geomorphology as benthic habitat
Subtitle of host publicationGeoHab atlas of seafloor geomorphic features and benthic habitats
EditorsPeter T. Harris, Elaine Baker
Place of PublicationAmsterdam, Netherlands ; Oxford, UK ; Cambridge, US
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9780128149614
ISBN (Print)9780128149607
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Bottom water
  • hydrocorals
  • vulnerable marine ecosystem
  • submarine canyons
  • continental slope

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