A first assessment of the distribution and abundance of large pelagic species at Cocos Ridge seamounts (Eastern Tropical Pacific) using drifting pelagic baited remote cameras

Marta Cambra, Frida Lara-Lizardi, César Peñaherrera-Palma, Alex Hearn, James T. Ketchum, Patricia Zarate, Carlos Chacón, Jenifer Suárez-Moncada, Esteban Herrera, Mario Espinoza

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5 Citas (Scopus)

Resumen

Understanding the link between seamounts and large pelagic species (LPS) may provide important insights for the conservation of these species in open water ecosystems. The seamounts along the Cocos Ridge in the Eastern Tropical Pacific (ETP) ocean are thought to be ecologically important aggregation sites for LPS when moving between Cocos Island (Costa Rica) and Galapagos Islands (Ecuador). However, to date, research efforts to quantify the abundance and distribution patterns of LPS beyond the borders of these two oceanic Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) have been limited. This study used drifting-pelagic baited remote underwater video stations (BRUVS) to investigate the distribution and relative abundance of LPS at Cocos Ridge seamounts. Our drifting-pelagic BRUVS recorded a total of 21 species including elasmobranchs, small and large teleosts, dolphins and one sea turtle; of which four species are currently threatened. Depth of seamount summit was the most significant driver for LPS richness and abundance which were significantly higher at shallow seamounts (< 400 m) compared to deeper ones (> 400m). Distance to nearest MPA was also a significant predictor for LPS abundance, which increased at increasing distances from the nearest MPA. Our results suggest that the Cocos Ridge seamounts, specifically Paramount and West Cocos which had the highest LPS richness and abundance, are important aggregation sites for LPS in the ETP. However, further research is still needed to demonstrate a positive association between LPS and Cocos Ridge seamounts. Our findings showed that drifting pelagic BRUVS are an effective tool to survey LPS in fully pelagic ecosystems of the ETP. This study represents the first step towards the standardization of this technique throughout the region.

Idioma originalInglés
Número de artículoe0244343
PublicaciónPLoS ONE
Volumen16
N.º11 November
DOI
EstadoPublicada - nov. 2021

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