Marine Biodiversity

, Volume 46, Issue 1, pp 85–94 | Cite as

Hydroid gardens of Nemertesia ramosa (Lamarck, 1816) in the central North Atlantic

  • José Nuno Gomes-Pereira
  • Fernando Tempera
Original Paper


Nemertesia ramosa (Lamarck, 1816) is a large eurybathic hydrozoan species. Its habitat and spatial distribution in the Azores archipelago (central North Atlantic) are described based on 22 new records collected in situ by scuba diving and by observations using a drop-down camera and remote operated vehicles (ROVs) between 2004 and 2011. N. ramosa grows on hard substrates in mono and multi-specific assemblages. In the Azores it is well known in the sublittoral at 15–158 m depth in the central group of islands, but historical records exist from seamounts down to bathyal grounds of nearly 1000 m. Scuba diving surveys generally reveal N. ramosa as an occasionally occurring and rare species in the infralittoral (1–9 colonies 10−3 m−2), although it may also be common and even abundant at some sites. A circalittoral aggregation was assessed in detail exhibiting densities of up to 2.82 colonies m−2 on rocky substrate and one order of magnitude lower on mixed bottom (0.25–0.55 colonies m−2). An aggregated spatial distribution is described, with aggregations being considered hydroid gardens (>1–9 10−1 m−2). Colonies measured on ROV imagery averaged 23.5 cm in height (STD = 4.1). Taller colonies (max = 36.7 cm) were registered on rocky outcrops protruding more than 15 cm. N. ramosa co-occurred mainly with brown and red algae, bryozoans, polychaetes, and other hydroids. A diverse ichthyofauna was associated to these habitats. Circalittoral communities of N. ramosa included hydrozoans, sponges, and fish.


Benthic ecology Eurybatic Nemertesia ramosa Large hydrozoa Hydroid garden Azores 



We acknowledge: Ricardo Serrão Santos, Filipe Porteiro, and Telmo Morato (IMAR-DOP/UAz) for their coordination and support throughout the projects mentioned below; Jorge Fontes, Frederico Cardigos, Vanessa Santos, Jaen Nieto Amat, Ricardo Delgado, and Pedro Frade for their collaboration in the scuba-diving surveys; David Abecasis and Manuela Ramos for their help in the ROV and drop-down camera surveys; Renato Bettencourt for his proficiency in piloting ROV SP; the crews of RV Arquipélago and RL Águas Vivas for their competence during the surveys; the dedicated editorial work by B. W. Hoeksema and detailed revisions from Lea-Anne Henry and one anonymous referee that contributed to improve this manuscript. Data collection and analysis was supported by projects MARÉ (Life-Nature B4-3200/98/509), MAROV (PDCTM/P/MAR/15249/1999), MAYA (AdI/POSI/2003), OGAMP (INTERREG IIIb - MAC/4.2/A2 2001), MARMAC (INTERREG IIIb - 03/MAC/4.2/A2 2004), CORALFISH (FP7 ENV/2007/1/21314 4), CORAZON (FCT/PTDC/MAR/72169/2006) and MeshAtlantic (AA-10/1218525/BF). Frederico Dias as coordinator of Project M@rbis (EMEPC). IMAR-DOP/UAz is Research and Development Unit no. 531 funded by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) through pluriannual and programmatic funding schemes (OE, FEDER, POCI2001, FSE) and by the Azores Directorate for Science and Technology (DRCT). JNGP was supported by the doctoral grant from the Regional Directorate for Science, Technology and Communications (DRCTC) of the Regional Government of the Azores (M3.1.2/F/062/2011). Fernando Tempera was supported by a post-doc grant from the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (ref. SFRH/BPD/79801/2011).

Supplementary material

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ESM Table 1 (DOCX 35 kb)
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ESM Table 2 (DOCX 23.1 kb)
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ESM Table 3 (DOCX 24.5 kb)


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Copyright information

© Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.MARE – Marine and Environmental Sciences Centre, Department of Oceanography and Fisheries, Centre of IMARUniversity of the AzoresHortaPortugal
  2. 2.Task Group for the Extension of the Continental Shelf (EMEPC)Paço de ArcosPortugal

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