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Molluscs from benthic habitats of the Gazul mud volcano (Gulf of Cádiz)
Olga Utrilla, Serge Gofas, Javier Urra, Pablo Marina, Ángel Mateo-Ramírez, Nieves López-González, Emilio González-García, Carmen Salas, José Luis Rueda

Molluscs from the Gazul mud volcano and its adjacent areas in the northern Gulf of Cádiz were studied using different sampling methods. This mud volcano has vulnerable deep-sea habitats and a potential high biodiversity. A total of 232 species were identified from the taxocoenosis and thanatocoenosis, of which 86 are new records for the Spanish margin of the Gulf of Cádiz, three of them are new records for Spanish waters and two species are new to science. The high species richness observed could be related to the combination of different sampling methods, the study of the thanatocoenosis, the high habitat heterogeneity and the geographical location of the Gazul mud volcano between different biogeographical regions. The best-represented species were Bathyarca philippiana, Asperarca nodulosa, Leptochiton sp., Astarte sulcata and Limopsis angusta. The thanatocoenosis harboured, with low frequency, species that are typical of northern latitudes, species indicating past seepage, species from the shelf and species restricted to particular hosts. The taxocoenosis found in different areas of Gazul (the mud volcano edifice, erosive depression and adjacent bottoms) generally displayed significant differences in multivariate analyses. Furthermore, the environmental parameters related to environmental complexity and food availability displayed the highest linkage with the molluscan fauna.

Keywords: molluscs; Gazul; mud volcano; Gulf of Cádiz; biodiversity; cold seep; vulnerable habitats; deep-sea
Contents of this volume Sci. Mar. 84(3) : 273-295 Back PDF
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