Fassbender et al. 2021

scientific article | Biodiversity Data Journal

Reef benthos of Seychelles-A field guide

Fassbender N, Stefanoudis PV, Filander ZN, Gendron G, Mah CL, Mattio L, Mortimer JA, Moura CJ, Samaai T, Samimi-Namin K, Wagner D, Walton R, Woodall LC


Background During the 2019 First Descent: Seychelles Expedition, shallow and deep reef ecosystems of the Seychelles Outer Islands were studied by deploying a variety of underwater technologies to survey their benthic flora and fauna. Submersibles, remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) and SCUBA diving teams used stereo-video camera systems to record benthic communities during transect surveys conducted at 10 m, 30 m, 60 m, 120 m, 250 m and 350 m depths. In total, ~ 45 h of video footage was collected during benthic transect surveys, which was subsequently processed using annotation software in order to assess reef biodiversity and community composition. Here, we present a photographic guide for the visual identification of the marine macrophytes, corals, sponges and other common invertebrates that inhabit Seychelles’ reefs. It is hoped that the resulting guide will aid marine biologists, conservationists, managers, divers and naturalists with the coarse identification of organisms as seen in underwater footage or live in the field. New information A total of 184 morphotypes (= morphologically similar individuals) were identified belonging to Octocorallia (47), Porifera (35), Scleractinia (32), Asteroidea (19), Echinoidea (10), Actiniaria (9), Chlorophyta (8), Antipatharia (6), Hydrozoa (6), Holothuroidea (5), Mollusca (2), Rhodophyta (2), Tracheophyta (2), Annelida (1), Crinoidea (1), Ctenophora (1), Ochrophyta (1) and Zoantharia (1). Out of these, we identified one to phylum level, eight to class, 14 to order, 27 to family, 110 to genus and 24 to species. This represents the first attempt to catalogue the benthic diversity from shallow reefs and up to 350 m depth in Seychelles.

Meta-data (pending validation)
Depth range
10- 350 m

Mesophotic “mentions”
10 x (total of 44012 words)

* Presents original data
* Focused on 'mesophotic' depth range
* Focused on 'mesophotic coral ecosystem'


Overall benthic (groups)


Manned Submersible
Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV)
SCUBA (open-circuit or unspecified)

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