Environmental forcing of the Campeche cold-water coral province, southern Gulf of Mexico

Hebbeln, D., Wienberg, C., Wintersteller, P., Freiwald, A., Becker, M., Beuck, L., Dullo, Wolf-Christian, Eberli, G. P., Glogowski, Silke, Matos, L., Forster, N., Reyes-Bonilla, H. and Taviani, M. and MSM 20-4 shipboard scientific party (2014) Environmental forcing of the Campeche cold-water coral province, southern Gulf of Mexico Biogeosciences (BG), 11 . pp. 1799-1815. DOI 10.5194/bg-11-1799-2014.

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Abstract

With an extension of >40 km2 the recently discovered Campeche cold-water coral province located at the northeastern rim of the Campeche Bank in the southern Gulf of Mexico belongs to the largest coherent cold-water coral areas discovered so far. The Campeche province consists of numerous 20 to 40 m high coral ridges that are developed in intermediate water depths of 500 to 600 m. The ridges are colonized by a vivid cold-water coral ecosystem that covers the upper flanks and summits. The rich coral community is dominated by the framework-building scleractinia Enallopsammia profunda and Lophelia pertusa while the associated benthic megafauna shows a rather scarce occurrence. The recent environmental setting is characterized by a high surface water production caused by a local upwelling center and a dynamic bottom water regime comprising vigorous bottom currents, internal waves and strong density contrasts, which all together provide optimal conditions for the growth of cold-water corals. The strong hydrodynamics – potentially supported by the diel vertical migration of zooplankton in the Campeche area – drive the delivering of food particles to the corals. The Campeche cold-water coral province is, thus, an excellent example highlighting the importance of the hydrographic setting in securing the food supply for the development of large and vivid cold-water coral ecosystems.

Document Type: Article
Additional Information: WOS:000334609000009
Keywords: Gulf of Mexico, Campeche Bank, cold-water coral mounds, Lophelia pertusa, Gradients
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB1 Ocean Circulation and Climate Dynamics > FB1-P-OZ Paleo-Oceanography
OceanRep > The Future Ocean - Cluster of Excellence
Refereed: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.5194/bg-11-1799-2014
ISSN: 1726-4170
Projects: WACOM, Future Ocean
Expeditions/Models:
Date Deposited: 13 Jan 2014 12:36
Last Modified: 30 May 2014 09:45
URI: http://eprints.uni-kiel.de/id/eprint/23043

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