Oceanography The Official Magazine of
The Oceanography Society
Volume 23 Issue 01

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Volume 23, No. 1
Pages 104 - 105


SPOTLIGHT • New England and Corner Rise Seamounts

By Timothy M. Shank  
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One of the longest seamount tracks in the Atlantic Ocean was formed by the Great Meteor or New England hotspot. This more than 3000-km-long hotspot track formed both the New England and Corner Rise seamounts, with a pause in volcanism 83 million years ago as evidenced by the morphological gap between chains (Figure 1). The New England and Corner Rise seamounts each have more than 35 and 50 major peaks, respectively, with summit reliefs from 400 m to more than 5000 m. Under highly diverse oceanographic settings, these seamounts harbor complex coral ecosystems comprised of host corals and sponges as well as many associate species (Shank et al., 2006; Mosher and Watling, 2009) that are now the focus of intense ecological and evolutionary studies. More than 270 morphospecies have been observed within this region, with ~ 75 morphotypes unique to the Corner Rise and ~ 60 unique to the New England Seamounts (Cho, 2008). Interestingly, a variety of invertebrates are revealing differing levels of specificity to their host corals, ranging from “facultative” to “obligate” (see Shank, 2010). For example, the galatheid Uroptychus has been observed only on the antipatharian Parantipathes sp., and the ophiuroid Ophiocreas oedipus only on the coral Metallogorgia melanotrichos (Figure 2).


Shank, T.M. 2010. Spotlight 4: New England and Corner Rise Seamounts. Oceanography 23(1):104–105, https://doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2010.76.


Cho, W. 2008. Faunal Biogeography, Community Structure, and Genetic Connectivity of North Atlantic Seamounts. PhD Dissertation MIT/WHOI Joint Program, 181 pp. 

Mosher, C.V., and L. Watling. 2009. Partners for life: A brittle star and its octocoral host. Marine Ecology Progress Series 397:81–88. 

Robinson, L.F., J.F. Adkins, D.S. Scheirer, D.P. Fernandez, A. Gagnon, and R.G. Waller. 2007. Deep-sea scleractinian coral age and depth distributions in the Northwest Atlantic for the last 225,000 years. Bulletin of Marine Science 81(3):371–391.

Shank, T.M. 2010. Seamounts: Deep-ocean laboratories of faunal connectivity, evolution, and endemism. Oceanography 23(1):108–122.

Shank, T.M., W. Cho, R. Waller, and S.C. France. 2006. Stepping stones across the Atlantic: Co-evolution and dispersal of deep-water corals and their associates on NW Atlantic seamounts. Eos, Transactions, American Geophysical Union 87(52):V13A-0655.

Vinnichenko, V.I. 1997. Russian investigations and deep water fishery on the Corner Rising Seamount in Subarea 6. North Atlantic Fisheries Organization Scientific Council Studies 30:41–49. 

Waller, R., L. Watling, P. Auster, and T.M. Shank. 2007. Fisheries impacts on the Corner Rise Seamounts. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 87:1,075–1,076.

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