Ulisse Seamount

About 28.6 NM South of Genoa in the Ligurian Sea, the eastern wall of the submarine canyon of the Bisagno River rises in the Ulisse Seamount having a minimum depth at 397 m (Würtz & Rovere, 2015).

The Ulisse Seamount is a popular fishing site for semi-professional and recreational fishermen, who use long-lines (Orsi-Relini and Relini, 2014), as demonstrated by the numerous fishing boats and moorings observed in the area. Coral bycatch was reported in this area, but no previous ROV surveys were conducted here.

The BioMount surveys were carried out on all flanks of the summit from 400 m to 751 m depth. A lush community of sponges, gorgonians and soft corals characterizes this mount and thrives on a biogenic concretion of fossil CWCs. 

The megabenthic community includes mainly Callogorgia verticillata, found as dense patches of juveniles on the flanks and in a dense mature forest of adult colonies on the summit (with the parasite Zibrowius primnoidus occasionally reported).

Villogorgia bebrycoides, Dendrobrachia bonsai as well as Antipathes dichotoma are other two well-represented anthozoans, often found entangled in lost lines. Massive sponges, including lithistids, and large colonies of Dendrophyllia cornigera are sparse in the area. A rich vagile fauna mainly composed of decapods and sea urchin moves within the forest. A conspicuous amount of fishing derelict gears and waste is found in all the area. Massive deep blooms of pirosome were observed in the sampling period.