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

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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.

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Financial support was provided by the Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico—CNPq (grant 233808/2014-0 to MOS) and INCT-AmbTropic (National Institute of Science and Technology for Tropical Marine Environments). We thank the editor and four anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments, which helped us to improve the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Marcelo de Oliveira Soares.

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Communicated by B. W. Hoeksema

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de Oliveira Soares, M., Davis, M., de Paiva, C.C. et al. Mesophotic ecosystems: coral and fish assemblages in a tropical marginal reef (northeastern Brazil). Mar Biodiv 48, 1631–1636 (2018).

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