Quantification of echinoderms (Echinodermata) on Georges Bank, and the potential influence of marine protected areas on these populations
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Quantification of echinoderms (Echinodermata) on Georges Bank, and the potential influence of marine protected areas on these populations

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  • Journal Title:
    Invertebrate Biology
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    The spatiotemporal variation of the distribution of echinoderms in the Georges Bank ecosystem was examined from 2005 to 2012. Density and abundance of representatives from echinoderm classes (brittle stars, sand dollars, sea stars, and sea urchins) were estimated using a drop camera video survey of the benthos in areas open and closed to fish trawling. The influence of closed areas on these echinoderm populations relative to a suite of key environmental and biotic factors was evaluated using Canonical Correspondence Analysis (CCA). While marine protected areas appeared to influence the distribution of sand dollars and sea stars, the distribution of brittle stars and sea urchins seemed to be defined mainly by preferred habitat conditions. According to the CCA, depth, sediment stability, temperature, predator abundance, and management area were the most important factors explaining this echinoderm assemblage. On Georges Bank, echinoderms dominate the benthic biota and are present in a variety of habitats. They can alter marine communities and are preferred prey and main predators for several commercially targeted species. The detailed information presented here (on the scale of kilometers) on abundance and spatial distribution of these populations is thus valuable towards the implementation of ecosystem‐based fisheries management.
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    Invertebrate Biology, 138(2)
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    CC BY-NC
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