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Namuncurá Marine Protected Area: an oceanic hot spot of benthic biodiversity at Burdwood Bank, Argentina

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Abstract

The first open-sea (non-coastal) Marine Protected Area (MPA) in Argentina was created in 2013 (and named “Namuncurá”), at Burdwood Bank, an undersea plateau located about 200 km south from Malvinas/Falkland Islands, SW Atlantic Ocean. This contribution represents the most recent and complete checklist of benthic organisms (mainly mega and macrofauna) that summarized 240 taxa collected at three sites in the mentioned area. The benthic richness here documented largely exceeds the values coming from other productive areas in Argentinean waters. Faunistic composition was different among the sites, although several species were shared. Bryozoans presented the highest richness compared to the other groups, followed by mollusks and sponges. These data represent valuable information and a very helpful starting point for incoming research, conservation efforts and management. It is essential to establish the spatial distribution of indicator taxa, like corals, sponges and bryozoans, to better attempt at the protection of benthic biodiversity in this rich Argentinean marine system. This is a key issue considering the notable extension of the MPA compared to other areas in Argentina, the bathymetric variations, particular oceanographic conditions and different fishing circumstances within the area.

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Acknowledgments

We would like to thank to the OV “Puerto Deseado” and the crew for the help during sampling procedures, as well as to Pablo Bonuccelli and the Hydrographic Research Vessels Division (Argentinean Navy), for the given permission to add Burdwood Bank sampling sites in the schedule of the survey. We also thank Gustavo Lovrich for their critical suggestions on preliminary versions of this MS and for the help during the identification of the king crab species. We also thank the reviewers for their critical revision of the MS and the suggestions received that improve the final result of this work. Prof. María Cecilia Martin helped in correcting the English grammar. This study was partially supported by PICT 2013-0629 (to LS), PICT-2012-1043 and PIP 11220120100247 (to JLG), PIP 11420110100323 (to DGZ), FACEPE—Fundação de Amparo à Ciência e Tecnologia do Estado de Pernambuco (APQ-0828-2.04/12) (to CDP) EXA 639/13 UNMdP 2013-2014 and PIP 11220110100152 (to GG).

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Schejter, L., Rimondino, C., Chiesa, I. et al. Namuncurá Marine Protected Area: an oceanic hot spot of benthic biodiversity at Burdwood Bank, Argentina. Polar Biol 39, 2373–2386 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00300-016-1913-2

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