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Individual Recommendations
Barbara Hecker

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POLYGONS BH1–4 (Veatch, Hydrographer, Oceanographer and Lydonia Canyons)

Rationale: physical features; nursery/spawning areas; biodiversity; high abundance
Seasons and depths important for protection: year-round; benthic

These polygons, each extending from the 100-meter isobath to the 2,000-meter isobath, are submarine canyons, which, because of their greater structural com-plexity, support higher densities and a greater diversity of megafaunal organisms than slope habitats. There are corals here. In general, the heads of canyons are known to be nursery areas for many fish and crustaceans, including commercially important ones. The sessile corals, sponges, and anemones found in the northern canyons have restricted distributions in that they must live attached to hard substrates. Hence populations within the canyons could represent crucial stock populations of sessile organisms.


POLYGON BH5 (Bear Seamount)

Rationale: physical features; biodiversity; high abundance
Seasons and depths important for protection: year-round; benthic

Little is known about the biology of the New England seamounts. However, studies in other regions of the world reveal that seamounts provide a unique habitat for a variety of diverse deepwater organisms. Seamounts frequently have complex topography, exceptionally steep inclines, exposures of hard substrate, high current intensities, and topographically induced upwelling, making them similar to the productive environment found in submarine canyons. These characteristics indicate that Bear Seamount would likely support high abundances of sessile organisms (corals and sponges) and associated invertebrates and fishes.


POLYGON BH6 (Hudson Canyon)

Rationale: physical features; nursery/spawning areas; biodiversity; high abundance
Seasons and depths important for protection: year-round; benthic

This is a particularly dynamic environment that supports nursery areas for a variety of fish and crustaceans. Tilefish burrows in the area are known to attract secondary burrowing, creating a highly diverse community. This polygon coincides with Able’s polygons KA2 and KA3. This canyon does not have many corals.


POLYGONS BH7–10 (Wilmington, Baltimore, Washington, and Norfolk Canyons)

Rationale: physical features; nursery/spawning areas; productive habitat; high abundance; biodiversity
Seasons and depths important for protection: year-round; benthic

Baltimore and Norfolk Canyons have high anemone concentrations and serve as nursery areas. They have high coral presence as well as enhanced megafaunal stock. It might be assumed that the other two southern canyons are similar environ-ments. The west wall of Baltimore Canyon has a suspected cold seep. The increased coral and megafaunal stocks in all canyons are most prevalent between 100-meter to 2,000-meter depth.


POLYGON BH11 (steep slope area off Cape Hatteras)

Rationale: physical features; biodiversity; high abundance; migratory corridor
Seasons and depths important for protection: year-round; pelagic and benthic

There is a high standing stock of infauna and megafauna in this unusually dynamic area. In the pelagic and mid-water depths there is high diversity of verte-brates, migratory seabirds, mammals, and turtles as well as fish. On the bottom there is also diversity of invertebrates.


POLYGON BH12

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

Along the international boundary (Hague line), from the 50-meter to the 2,000-meter isobath, is a dynamic area unlike the rest of the mid-Atlantic. There is an unusual nutrient flux, glacial erratics, and a high number of corals.


REFERENCES

for BH5
Genin, A., P.K. Dayton, P.F. Lonsdale, and F.N. Spiess. 1986. Corals on Seamount Peaks Provide Evidence of Current Acceleration over Deep-Sea Topography. Nature. 322: 59–61.

Rogers, A. D. 1994. The Biology of Seamounts. Advances Mar. Biol. 30: 305–50.

for BH1-10
Hecker, B. and G. Blechschmidt. 1979. Epifauna of the Northeastern U.S. Continental Margin. Final Report, Bureau of Land Management, p. 114.

Hecker, B., G. Blechschmidt, and P. Gibson. 1980. Epifaunal Zonation and Community Structure in Three Mid- and North Atlantic Canyons. Canyon Assessment Study. Final Report, Bureau of Land Management, p. 139.

Hecker, B., D.T. Logan, F.E. Gandarillas, and P.R. Gibson. 1983. Megafaunal Assemblages in Canyon and Slope Habitats. Vol. III: Chapter I. Canyon and Slope Processes Study. Final Report prepared for U.S. Department of the Interior, Minerals Management Service, Washington, DC, p. 140.

for BH11
Blake, J.A., B. Hecker, J.F. Grassle, B. Brown, M. Wade, P.D. Goehm, E. Baptiste, B. Hilbig, N. Maciolek, R. Petrecca, R.E. Ruff, V. Starczak, and L. Watling. 1987. Study of Biological Processes on the South Atlantic Slope and Rise. Phase 2. Final Report prepared for U.S. Department of the Interior, Minerals Management Service, Washington, DC.

Gooday, A.J., L.A. Levin, C.L. Thomas, and B. Hecker. 1992. The Distribution and Ecology of Bathysiphon filiformis Sars and B. major de Folin (Protista, Foraminiferida) on the Continental Slope off North Carolina. J. Foram. Res. 22: 129–46.

Hecker, B. 1994. Unusual Megafaunal Assemblages on the Continental Slope off Cape Hatteras. Deep-Sea Research II. 41: 809–34.

Milliman, John D., ed. 1994. Input, Accumulation, and Cycling of Materials on the Continental Slope off Cape Hatteras. Deep Sea Research, Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography. 41, nos. 4–6.

Rhodas, D.C. and B. Hecker. 1994. Processes on the Continental Slope off North Carolina with Special Reference to the Cape Hatteras Region. Deep-Sea Research, Part II. 41: 965–80.

for BH12
Hecker, B. 1990. Variation in Megafaunal Assemblages on the Continental Margin South of New England. Deep-Sea Research. 37: 37–57.

Hecker, B. 1990. Photographic Evidence for the Rapid Flux of Particles to the Sea Floor and Their Transport Down the Continental Margin. Deep-Sea Research. 37: 1773–782.

Maciolek, N.J., J.F. Grassle, B. Hecker, B.Brown, J. A. Blake, P.D. Boehm, R. Petrecca, S. Duffy, E. Baptiste, and R.E. Ruff. 1987b. Study of Biological Processes on the U.S. North Atlantic Slope and Rise. Final Report prepared for U.S. Department of the Interior, Minerals Management Service, Washington, DC.

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