Darwin mounds

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Are features discovered in 1998 in deep water (1,000 m/3,280 ft) off Cape Wrath, Scotland. They extend over an area of about 100 square kilometres (38.6 sq. mls.); each mound being about 100 metres (300 ft) in diameter and 5 metres (15 ft) high. They are covered with a variety of cold-water corals, notably Lophelia perusa, and large numbers of xenophyophores, giant protozoans that can grow to be over 20 centimetres (8 in.) in size. The mounds attract a large variety of fishes and invertebrates such as sponges and echinoderms like starfish, but even in the short time they have been known they have been heavily damaged by deep-sea trawls of commercial fisheries which target fish like orange roughy (Hoplostethus atlanticus). In 2004 their conservation was still the subject of active negotiations, and they may become one of the first deep-water no-take zones. The Norwegian government has already introduced emergency measure to protect similar reefs.

See also coral reefs.

See also coral reefs.

www.wwf.org.uk/filelibrary/pdf/darwin_ mounds.pdf

M. V. Angel

Subjects: Maritime History.

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