, Volume 471, Issue 1-3, pp 19-28

Coral in Alaska: distribution, abundance, and species associations

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Abstract

To help identify fishery management actions that minimize the adverse impacts of fishing activities on corals in Alaska, the distribution and abundance of corals were analyzed based on trawl survey data collected during 1975–1998. We also examined the species of commercially managed fish that are associated with coral. Soft corals, primarily Gersemia sp. (=Eunephthya sp.), were the most frequently encountered corals in the Bering Sea. In the Aleutian Islands gorgonian corals, primarily in the genera Callogorgia, Primnoa, Paragorgia, Thouarella, and Arthrogorgia were the most common corals. In the Gulf of Alaska, gorgonian corals, primarily in the genera Callogorgia and Primnoa, and cup corals, primarily `Scleractinia unidentified', occurred most frequently. The Aleutian Islands area appears to have the highest abundance and diversity of corals. Some fish groups are associated with particular types of coral. Rockfish (Sebastes spp. and Sebastolobus alascanus) and Atka mackerel (Pleurogrammus monopterygius) were the most common fish captured with gorgonian, cup, and hydrocorals, whereas flatfish and gadids were the most common fish captured with soft corals.