Occhiali Seamount 

This seamount is located to the West of the Santa Lucia Bank and it is well known by professional and sport fishermen as fishing hot spot (Würtz & Rovere, 2015), as demonstrated by the numerous fishing vessels encountered during the sampling. This elevation is known as “Occhiali”, likely because it is characterized by two adjacent peaks (referring to glasses in Italian) at the depths of 280 m and 457 m (Würtz & Rovere, 2015). No previous ROV surveys were conducted in this site.

The BioMount surveys were carried out between 475 m and 493 m on the southern peak and between 300 m and 348 m on the northern one. The first is characterized by a heterogeneous hardground covered in biogenic concretions and surrounded by fields of Nephrops norvegicus. The second peak is characterized by a gentle slope rising towards the summit and dominated by a Dendrophyllia cornigera tanatocoenosis in which living colonies are consistent. Dead branches are covered in sponges and no signs of Fe-Mn crusts are present. Large predators frequent the area. Abundant traces of fishing lost gears are found in the entire area mainly represented by moorings and lines.