The Fugløy cold-water coral reefs on the south-western Barents Sea shelf: their morphology, distribution and environmental setting
The Fugløy area is located on the south-western Barents Sea shelf, in northern Norway. Multibeam echosounder bathymetry data, backscatter data and high-resolution seismic profiles were used to identify cold-water coral reefs. Together 12 cold-water coral reefs were mapped. Coral reefs have the highest density of up to 1.39 reefs per km² on top of ridges of morainic origin and they occur in areas where the seafloor is represented by hard bottom sediments. Moraine ridges are often cut by erosional channels; those probably have a positive influence on the transport and concentration of food particles. Numerous pockmarks were observed in the sedimentary basin in the northeast from the main coral reef concentration. The data suggest that the development and lateral distribution of reefs in the Fugløy area is characterized by an interaction between biological growth processes and factors like seepage of fluid from pockmarks, local topography, hard substrate and current regime. The vertical distribution is most likely controlled by physical oceanographic conditions like temperature, salinity and density. This study shows that high-resolution multibeam data together with backscatter and seismic data are effective tools to cold-water coral reef distributions in relation to the geological and oceanographic environment.
ForlagUniversitetet i Tromsø
University of Tromsø
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