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An extensive review of cephalopod fauna in the Central and North Atlantic coast of Africa was performed based on material collected during 10 research

138 different species of cephalopods inhabit the Great Marine Ecosystem of the Canary Current

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Thursday, January 28, 2021, 07:00 (GMT + 9)

Scientists from the University of Vigo and the IEO have studied the biodiversity of this animal group in what is considered the third most productive area of ​​the ocean in the world

Researchers from the University of Vigo and the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO), belonging to the EcoAfrik research team, have published a work in which they analyze in detail the cephalopod fauna of the so-called Great Marine Ecosystem of the Canary Current ( CCLME), on the Atlantic coast of northwestern Africa, having found 138 different species of this taxonomic group.

The study, published in the Journal of Marine Biological Association of United Kingdom, was based on collections collected at 1,247 bottom trawl stations sampled during ten multidisciplinary campaigns conducted between 2004 and 2012.

► Map of CCLME campaign stations. In dark grey,the stations carried out by the IEO campaigns (Maroc,Maurit and Bissau); in light grey, the regional cam-paigns of the CCLME (CCLME). The isobaths of1000 mand2000 m of the Atlantic margin are shown

These campaigns were carried out by the IEO and FAO - within the framework of their EAF-Nansen and CCLME projects - along the continental shelf and the slope off Morocco, Western Sahara, Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau and Guinea.

The enormous work on board carried out by the research teams that participated in these campaigns has been the basis of this taxonomic study. After several years of work and an exhaustive bibliographic analysis, scientists have quantified 138 cephalopod species that inhabit the Great Marine Ecosystem of the Canary Current (CCLME), one of the three most productive in the world.

In addition, the new work broadens the known geographical distribution of several species, such as some deep-sea octopuses (such as Muusoctopus januarii, Bathypolypus valdiviae or Cirrothauma murrayi) and several oceanic squid (such as Abralia siedleckyi, Magnoteuthis magna or Chtenopteryx sicula), some of which have been registered for the first time in the area.

The CCLME is home to one of the four main marine upwelling systems and is the third in terms of primary productivity worldwide, where the largest fisheries on the African Atlantic coast occur, with an annual production of approximately two to three. tons. The main commercial target species include some groups of cephalopods such as squid, cuttlefish and octopus.

"Although most of the cephalopod species with commercial value in the region have been well studied, many aspects of the systematics, distribution, biogeography and ecology of other cephalopods are unknown," explains Catalina Perales-Raya, co-author of the work and researcher of the Oceanographic Center of the Canary Islands of the IEO.

The EcoAfrik (UVigo-IEO) research team, led by Fran Ramil and Ana Ramos, was launched with the aim of analyzing the biodiversity of the benthic ecosystems that occupy the bottoms of the Northwest African coast. "During these studies, an enormous amount of biological data, environmental parameters of the water column and the seabed and important collections of invertebrates have been obtained", explains the researcher from the University of Vigo Amanda Luna and author of the article.

The EcoAfrik team has spent years tirelessly studying the benthos of the Northwest African coast, conducting oceanographic campaigns and publishing a multitude of publications, including scientific articles, technical reports, books and doctoral theses. This new article is precisely part of Amanda Luna's doctoral thesis.

Reference: Amanda Luna, Francisco Rocha and Catalina Perales-Raya. 2021. A Review of Cephalopods (Mollusca) of the Canary Current Large Marine Ecosystem (Central-East Atlantic, African coast). Journal of Marine Biological Association of United Kingdom.

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