Shea, Elizabeth K., Judkins, Heather, Staudinger, Michelle D., Dimkovikj, Valerie H., Lindgren, Annie and Vecchione, Michael
Bear Seamount (BSM) is the most inshore seamount in the New England Seamount chain. It is located within the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone and is contained within the recently established Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument. In 2000, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Systematics Laboratory began an exploratory trawling program to document nekton diversity at BSM and its vicinity. Here, we summarize eight exploratory sampling cruises conducted between 2000 and 2014, and describe the cephalopod biodiversity and assemblage structure around BSM. Over the course of 174 deep-midwater and 56 bottom tows, 5088 cephalopods were identified, measured, and documented. In total, 77 species were collected at BSM; 75 species were collected from midwater tows and 28 from benthic tows. Rarefaction curves did not reach an asymptote, suggesting that additional sampling will collect more species. Seventeen species accounted for 75% of the total midwater and bottom catch, including: Illex illecebrosus (n = 605), Magnoteuthis magna (n = 568), Abraliopsis morisii (n = 518), Abralia redfieldi (n = 358), Mastigoteuthis agassizii (n = 336), Histioteuthis reversa (n = 273), Taonius pavo (n = 239), Haliphron atlanticus (n = 195), Brachioteuthis beanii (n = 160), Ornithoteuthis antillarum (n = 153), Pterygioteuthis gemmata (n = 141), Pyroteuthis margaritifera (n = 120), Vampyroteuthis infernalis (n = 101), Chiroteuthis veranyi (n = 33), Bolitaena pygmaea (n = 30), Graneledone verrucosa (n = 11), and Stauroteuthis syrtensis (n = 29). Non-metric multidimensional scaling (NMDS) of significant analysis of similarity (ANOSIM) results showed that the 2000 cruise was different from other years, meteorological winter was different from other seasons, and that day and night shallow samples were different from each other and all other depths. Based on seasonal size variation in the most abundant taxa, we propose hypotheses of year-round, winter, and spring spawning for future critical assessment. This extensive description of the offshore cephalopod assemblage may be used to assess vulnerability to future environmental changes and human activities.