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June 29, 2010

Seco de los Olivos. Visit from Fundación Biodiversidad

BY: Silvia García




Logo IndemaresFundación Biodiversidad coordinates the LIFE+ INDEMARES project (Spanish), the framework of our research of Seco de los Olivos seamount. Today we received a visit from three representatives from this foundation, Ignacio Torres, Zaída Calvete and Raquel Palomeque.

We did two good transects with the ROV. During the first, in the eastern part of the seamount, we maintained ourselves at 400-450m depth on a muddy seabed with emerging rocks. These landscapes, although they may seem somewhat desolate, provide food to a wide variety of life forms, including fish like bluemouth rockfish, forkbeard, common pandora, hake, blue whiting, scorpionfish, small-spotted catsharks and blackmouth catsharks.

During the second transect, on the peak of the seamount, at 80m depth, we found an extensive rhodolith bed (concretions of red algae). Some look like fists harbouring more species than one can imagine, creating rich miniature habitats, essential for marine life and included in different lists of protected habitats and species. The same thing occurs on the dispersed rocks, but on a smaller scale. Here there are beautiful, well developed gorgonian gardens and, among these, also on top of the rocks, a wide variety of marine invertebrates like sponges, bryozoans, ascidians, polychaetes, foraminiferans, crustaceans and molluscs.

If we saw any of these landscapes outside the water, it’s very clear that no one, absolutely no one, would doubt that they should be protected.