Penelope Seamount

A deeper peak, South to Ulisse, known as “Penelope”, is located at 454 m depth (Würtz & Rovere, 2015). Similarly to Ulisse, also Penelope is considered a popular fishing site and also in this area sampling operations, carried out in summer, were obstacle by numerous fishing vessels as well as derelict material on the seafloor. No previous ROV surveys were conducted in this site.

The BioMount surveys were carried out on along the southern flanks of the summit from 447 m to 518 m depth where more significant hardgrounds were detected. Despite its vicinity to Ulisse, the benthic community shows some significant differences. Villogorgia bebrycoides, Bebryce mollis and soft corals are the dominant benthic components thriving on a dense biogenic concretion of fossil CWCs, while massive sponges and black corals are significantly less abundant. Among sponges, Stylocordila pellita form dense aggregations that were never reported before in the area. Decapods and cephalopods are frequently spotted in the forest. Evidences of fishing impact are important and entanglements are recorded on all species.