Seamount egg-laying grounds of the deep-water skate <i>Bathyraja richardsoni</i>

TitleSeamount egg-laying grounds of the deep-water skate Bathyraja richardsoni
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsHenry, LA, Stehmann, MF, De Clippele, L, Findlay, HS, Golding, N, Roberts, JM
JournalJournal of Fish Biology
Date Published08/2016
ISBN Number0022-1112
Keywordseep sea, elasmobranch, environment, Habitat, reproduction

Highly localized concentrations of elasmobranch egg capsules of the deep-water skate Bathyraja richardsoni were discovered during the first remotely operated vehicle (ROV) survey of the Hebrides Terrace Seamount in the Rockall Trough, north-east Atlantic Ocean. Conductivity-temperature-depth profiling indicated that the eggs were bathed in a specific environmental niche of well-oxygenated waters between 4·20 and 4·55° C, and salinity 34·95-35·06, on a coarse to fine-grained sandy seabed on the seamount's eastern flank, whereas a second type of egg capsule (possibly belonging to the skate Dipturus sp.) was recorded exclusively amongst the reef-building stony coral Solenosmilia variabilis. The depths of both egg-laying habitats (1489-1580 m) provide a de facto refuge from fisheries mortality for younger life stages of these skates.