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Individual Recommendations
Peter Auster

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POLYGON PA1

Rationale: biodiversity
Seasons and depths important for protection: year-round; benthic

The selection of this 20-mile-wide and 50- to 200-meter-isobath-deep polygon is based on diversity hot spots identified from georeferenced species per tow calculated from ECNASAP data (data from Brown et al., 1996; diversity analysis based on Auster, unpublished data). The use of these diversity hot spots is based on a discussion in Reid (1988).


POLYGONS PA2–4

Rationale: biodiversity; representation of communities
Seasons and depths important for protection: year-round; benthic

These cross-shelf polygons are based on the premise of capturing representative assemblages of fishes, habitats, and sediment (grain-size) diversit. (Auster and Shackell, 2000; Auster et al., 1995). The location of assemblages of mid-Atlantic fishes is based on Colvocoresses and Musick (1994). Microhabitat use and variability across the shelf is based on Auster et al. (1995). Further, the most northern cross-shelf poly-gon (PA4) also captures a cross-shelf fish-species diversity hot spot based on species-per-tow trawl samples (see metadata for polygon PA1; Auster, unpublished data).

Others have also identified both areas as critical habitats for other species.


POLYGON PA5–CR3–JM9

Rationale: biodiversity; nursery area
Seasons and depths important for protection: year-round; pelagic

The shape and location of this polygon is based on Auster, Crowder, and Musick’s agreement on the average location of high-density regions of Sargassum along the Gulf Stream. Sargassum is essential habitat for Sargassum-associated fishes, fishes that serve as prey for larger pelagic predators, and as a nursery for sea turtles and many fishes.

Auster also supports the designation of Polygon BH5 (Bear Seamount) and DR1 (hard substrate area off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina).


REFERENCES

for PA1
Brown, S.K., et al., 1996. East Coast of North America Groundfish: Initial Explorations of Biogeography and Species Assemblages (Silver Spring, MD: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and Dartmouth, NH. Department of Fisheries and Oceans, p. 111.

Reid, W.V. 1998. Biodiversity Hot Spots. Trends Ecol. Evol. 13: 275–80.

for PA2–4
Auster, P.J., R. J. Malatesta, and S.C. laRosa. 1995. Patterns of Microhabitat Utilization of Mobile Megafauna on the Southern New England (USA) Continental Shelf and Slope. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 127: 77–85.

Auster, P.J., and N. Shackell. In press. Marine Protected Areas for Sustainable Fisheries and Conservation of Biological Diversity. In press. Northeastern Naturalist.

Colvocoresses, J.A.and J.A. Musick. 1984. Species Associations and Community Composition of Middle Atlantic Bight Continental Shelf Demersal Fishes. Fish. Bull., U.S. 82: 295–313.

for PA5
Moser, M.L., P.J. Auster and J.B. Bichy. 1998. Effects of Mat Morphology on Large Sargassum-Associated Fishes: Observations from a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) and Free-Floating Video Camcorders. Environmental Biology of Fishes. 51: 391–98.

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