Video-assisted grabbing: a minimally destructive method of sampling azooxanthellate coral banks
Traditional techniques used to sample azooxanthellate coral banks by dredge and trawl cause extensive impact to both the corals and surrounding seabed. Modern sampling techniques using submersibles and remotely operated vehicles cause very little or no damage, but are expensive and require specialized vessels. Here we describe a combination of video camera and benthic grab for sampling azooxanthellate corals and test this method on a Lophelia pertusa bank in Osterfjorden, western Norway. The video-assisted grab was successfully used both for locating and sampling L. pertusa. This method can largely replace the use of traditional, more destructive dredging and trawling techniques for sampling azooxanthellate corals.
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