Research Technical Report
Characterization of the Geology, Benthic Habitats, and Fish Assemblage of the Headward Portion of Partington Canyon
de Marignac, J., J.J. Bizzarro, L.Y. Murai, E.J. Burton, and H.G. Greene (2004)
Poster presentation at Western Groundfish Conference, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada (February 2004)
Poster presentation at Sanctuary Currents Symposium, Seaside, CA (March 2004)
Partington Canyon is one of the northeast Pacific coast's youngest and most active submarine canyons. Erosion of the coastal slope onshore supplies the submarine environment with very coarse-grained materials that appear to be scouring and eroding its walls and producing a dynamic and complex seafloor morphology. These processes may contribute substantial sediment and detritus to the continental shelf, upper slope, and submarine canyons along the Big Sur coast and may form promising habitats for - investigate the geologic characteristics of the region, distinguish and map distinct benthic habitat types, and characterize the demersal fish assemblage. In July 2003, we conducted a side-scan sonar survey in the Partington Canyon area and created a habitat map. In September 2003, we completed five submersible dives: one geology dive to ground-truth habitat interpretations and to further describe geologic features noted from seafloor imagery; and four dives across depth strata to identify, enumerate, and measure demersal fishes. Preliminary results of this study include a geologic description and habitat interpretation of the region, and a characterization of the demersal fish assemblage noted at the time of survey. This study is part of an ongoing monitoring project by the Sanctuary Integrated Monitoring Network of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (SIMoN).