Santa Lucia Seamount

The Santa Lucia Bank is a small seamount located in the North-eastern Ligurian Sea having a minimum depth of 135 m (Würtz & Rovere, 2015). The Santa Lucia Bank is a common fishing ground for both professional and recreational fishermen. This is demonstrated by the high percentage of ROV footage showing traces of lost gears, mainly long lines commonly entrapping the benthic fauna (Bo et al., 2014), and by the numerous fishing vessels in the area.

The BioMount surveys were carried out on both peaks, from 135 m to 163 m on the eastern peak, and from 200 m to 210 m depth on the western one. A deep coralligenous assemblage dominated by coralline algae and a dense assemblage of Eunicella cavolini and Antedon mediterranea characterizes one peak. The second peak, in the mesophotic depth range, hosts a dense mixed black coral assemblage with all four major Mediterranean antipatharian species. Numerous species are found in the forest crawling on the branches or under the canopy. The arborescent colonies are often entangled and many are dead. Dense patches of the gorgonian Viminella flagellum are found as well as aggregations of massive sponges.