Site details

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5 stars - Fully protected as a national park or Natura 2000 site by national legislation
MarBEF Deep Sea and Open Ocean Reference Site

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Meteor Photo:

Extensive description of site:

The Great Meteor Seamount is one of the most thoroughly investigated seamounts in the world. It is the first on which the macro and meio fauna have been studied. (Hemprl, 1968). Its plateau is covered by coarse biogenic sand composed of fragments of corals and molluscs shells. Is a gigantic submarine guyot of volcanic origin with an oval plateau of about 1465km2 and with an extent of 50x28km. It rises up from a depth of almost 4800m to about 270m bellow the sea surface. The suggestion is that the Great Meteor Seamount is in the North Atlantic gyre and in the centre of the Mediterranean Water.

Habitats present:

Deep-Sea BedRockSandMudBiohermBenthopelagicWater Column
Continental Margin     Epi-pelagic  
Abyssal Plain     Mesopelagic X
Seamounts and
Oceanic Islands flanks
X  X Bathypelagic X

Description of fauna and flora:

Analysis of a series of photographs taken at different depths on the Great Meteor Seamount revealed that the most prominent megafaunal taxa were sponges (eg. Haliclonia sp). Gorgorian species (eg. Elisella flagellum), antipatharian and madreporarian corals (eg. Antipathes glabberima and Dendrophyllia cf.cornigera) and sea urchins (Cidaris cidaris). Studies of planktonic communities around the semount observed some patchiness. Several studies on the ichthyofauna were made, including mesopelagic fish.

Habitat description:

Habitats according to EUNIS classification:

A6.22 Summit communities of seamount, knoll or bank within the mesopelagic zone, i.e. interacting with diurnally migrating plankton
A6.24 Flanks of seamount, knoll or bank
A6.25 Base of seamount, knoll or bank


The nearest harbours are located several hundreds of miles away; an oceanographic vessel is therefore needed. Not accessible during winter.

Available database and website:

This site is being studied since the late 1960s, but no CD-Rom or website is available.

Time-series data:
Despite no real time series, this is one of the most well studied seamount, and there are biodiversity data since 1967.

Commitment and ongoing research:

There is no information about intentions on studying the area.

Additional Information:

Arnz, W, 2002. Oceanography and Ecology of Seamounts- Indications of unique ecosystems.Arch. Fish. Mar. Res. 51(1-3): 5-333. Special Edition
Uiblein, F., A. Geldmacher, F. Koester, W. Nellen, and G. Kraus., 1999. Species Composition and Depth Distribution of Fish Species Collected in the Area of the Great Meteor Seamount, Eastern Central Atlantic, During Cruise M42/3 With Seventeen New Records. Ciencias marinas(5): 49-85. 1999
Heinz P, Ruepp D, Hemleben C, 2004 Benthic foraminifera assemblages at great meteor seamount MARINE BIOLOGY 144 (5): 985-998
Gofas S, Beu A, 2000. Tonnoidean gastropods of the north Atlantic Seamounts and the Azores AMERICAN MALACOLOGICAL BULLETIN 17 (1-2): 91-108
George KH, Schminke HK, 2002 Harpacticoida (Crustacea, Copepoda) of the Great Meteor Seamount, with first conclusions as to the origin of the plateau fauna MARINE BIOLOGY 141 (5): 887-895
Fock H, Uiblein F, Koster F, et al., 2002. Biodiversity and species-environment relationships of the demersal fish assemblage at the Great Meteor Seamount (subtropical NE Atlantic), sampled by different trawls MARINE BIOLOGY 141 (1): 185-199