Publications & Cruise Reports

Nekton Mission 1: XL Catlin Deep Ocean Survey, 2016-2018

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A total of 18 scientific papers are currently on track to be published and are being finalised and submitted throughout 2017 for peer review. On publication, all details will appear here.

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1. Gress E, Andradi-Brown DA, Woodall L, Schofield PJ, Stanley K, Rogers AD. (2017) Lionfish (Pterois spp.) invade the upper-bathyal zone in the western Atlantic. PeerJ5:e3683

Lionfish, a predatory reef fish defended with needle-sharp venomous spines, are naturally found in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. They were released by people into the western Atlantic Ocean, where they've rapidly spread, eating many of the native fish and so causing major coral reef damage. Currently governments are trying to manage lionfish populations by encouraging control programmes, yet these are focused on shallow reefs. Our work shows that these invasive lionfish are going into the deep sea in many locations in the western Atlantic, raising alarm that lionfish control programmes need to think about managing these deeper populations to improve their effectiveness.

2. Wagner  D, Shuler A, (2017) The black coral fauna (Cnidaria: Antipatharia) of Bermuda with new records, Zootaxa 4344 (2): 367–379

The black coral fauna of Bermudan waters is poorly known, in large part due to the logistical challenges of surveying deep-water (>50 m) environments where most species occur. In 2016, the Nekton Expedition sought to survey the deep-water biodiversity around Bermuda using manned submersibles and mixed-gas technical SCUBA. A total of 28 black coral specimens were collected, and these were examined based on skeletal spine morphology, polyp morphology, colony branching pattern and in situ photographs. The specimens were assigned to seven species in three families and four genera, including (1) Antipathes atlantica Gray, 1857, (2) Antipathes furcata Gray, 1857, (3) Stichopathes pourtalesi Brook, 1889, (4) Stichopathes sp., (5) Distichopathes filix (Pourtales, 1867), (6) Tanacetipathes hirta (Gray, 1857), and (7) Tanacetipathes tanacetum (Pourtales, 1867). Of these, three species (Stichopathes sp., S. pourtalesi, and D. filix), one genus (Distichopathes) and one family (Aphanipathidae) are reported from Bermudan waters for the first time, thereby increasing the known black coral diversity of Bermuda to twelve species, five genera and four families. The diagnostic characters of the taxa identified as part of this study are illustrated and described.