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Bryozoans from Chella Bank (Seco de los Olivos), with the description of a new species and some new records for the Mediterranean Sea


Chella Bank (also known as Seco de los Olivos seamount) is a volcanic submarine elevation (76–700 m deep) located ca. 16 km off the southern coast of Spain, within the Alboran Sea, in the Atlantic-Mediterranean transition zone. It represents a biodiversity hotspot for Europe, with more than 600 species listed to date, and contains several habitats included in the EU Habitats Directive. During three ship-based expeditions, several areas of Chella Bank were surveyed and sampled in a depth range of 95–729 m, resulting in new records that improve our knowledge on poorly studied phyla, such as bryozoans. In 14 of the 21 samples examined during this study, 43 bryozoan taxa could be identified. Among these, one species is described as new to science (Buskea medwaves sp. nov.) and three other ones are reported for the first time from the Mediterranean Sea, namely Terminoflustra barleei (Busk, 1860), Marguetta pulchra Jullien in Jullien & Calvet, 1903, and Schizomavella (Schizomavella) linearis profunda Harmelin & d’Hondt, 1992a. Some species were abundant in the samples, such as Adeonellopsis distoma (Busk, 1859), B. medwaves sp. nov., Entalophoroecia cf. deflexa, and Reteporella pelecanus López de la Cuadra & García-Gómez, 2001. The highest species richness was detected in rhodolith beds and on coral rubble bottoms (especially exposed above the sediments) compared with other bottom types and habitats such as sandy bottoms and muddy bottoms. The finding highlights the importance of these environments for bryozoans.

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We would like to thank the captains, crews and chief scientists (María Gómez-Ballesteros, Covadonga Orejas, Cristina García) of the expeditions MONCARAL 0516, MEDWAVES 0916 and MEDITS 1704 and the R/V Ángeles Alvariño, Sarmiento de Gamboa and Miguel Oliver, respectively. We would like to thank Serge Gofas, Carmen Salas and Gregorio Martín Caballero (Goyo) from Universidad de Malaga for their valuable help in the laboratory and in carrying out SEM sessions. We are thankful to JG Harmelin and two anonymous referees who provided helpful comments and suggestions for improving the submitted version of the manuscript. Finally, we appreciate the corrections made by Terence W. Edwards on the English grammar.


The present study has been possible with the support of the projects MONCARAL funded by the Instituto Español de Oceanografía (IEO), DEMALBORAN (Evaluación de Recursos Demersales por Métodos Directos en el Mar de Alborán) funded by the IEO and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and ATLAS. This latter project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement no. 678760 (ATLAS). This output reflects only the author’s view, and the European Union cannot be held responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained therein.

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Correspondence to Laís V. Ramalho.

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The authors declare that they have no known competing financial interests or personal relationships that could have appeared to influence the work reported in this paper.

Ethical approval

All applicable international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed.

Sampling and field studies

All necessary permits for sampling and observational field studies have been obtained from the competent authorities.

Data availability

The data obtained under the following study are available from the corresponding author on request.

Author contribution

Original samples were collected by JLR. Bryozoans were picked up from original samples by JU, JACH and LVR. Species identification and preparing the voucher specimens for museum storage were conducted by LVR. Data analysis was performed by JLR and LVR. Figures were processed by all authors. First draft of the manuscript was written by LVR and all authors commented and implemented it. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

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Ramalho, L.V., Caballero-Herrera, J.A., Urra, J. et al. Bryozoans from Chella Bank (Seco de los Olivos), with the description of a new species and some new records for the Mediterranean Sea. Mar. Biodivers. 50, 106 (2020).

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  • Alboran Sea
  • Cheilostomatida
  • Cyclostomatida
  • Rhodoliths
  • Coral rubble
  • Marine protected area