Mesophotic ecosystems: coral and fish assemblages in a tropical marginal reef (northeastern Brazil)

  • Marcelo de Oliveira Soares
  • Marcus Davis
  • Carolina Cerqueira de Paiva
  • Pedro Bastos de Macêdo Carneiro
Short Communication


Mesophotic reefs (30–150 m depths) have recently become recognized as species-rich marine ecosystems, even in areas showing suboptimal conditions, like turbid water with sediment resuspension. The present study reports a qualitative survey focused on scleractinian coral and fish assemblages in a marginal reef (northeastern Brazil, southwestern Atlantic) at lower mesophotic depth. Data collection was conducted in the summer of 2016 by scuba diving at 35–37 m depths. The occurrence of scleractinian reef corals Siderastrea stellata and Montastraea cavernosa suggests that these two species can be important reef-builders in mesophotic ecosystems in northeastern Brazil. The fish assemblage was characterized by 33 observed species, representing a large variety of trophic categories. The compositions of coral and fish species showed similarities with those of shallow-water reefs in the area. This may become relevant in understanding the connectivity between shallow and deep populations in the light of mesophotic reefs serving as refugia.


Suboptimal conditions Benthic ecosystems Siderastrea Montastraea Turbid water Twilight zone Refugium 


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Copyright information

© Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marcelo de Oliveira Soares
    • 1
  • Marcus Davis
    • 2
  • Carolina Cerqueira de Paiva
    • 1
  • Pedro Bastos de Macêdo Carneiro
    • 1
  1. 1.Instituto de Ciências do Mar (LABOMAR)Universidade Federal do Ceará (UFC)FortalezaBrazil
  2. 2.Mar do CearáFortalezaBrazil

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