Seamounts: identity crisis or split personality?


*Craig R. McClain, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, 7700 Sandholdt Road, Moss Landing, CA, 95039, USA.


At present, researchers propose that over 14,000 seamounts exist and, like their terrestrial analogues, function like islands. In addition, seamounts are described as oases, biodiversity hotspots, and lush coral/sponge gardens. Here I discuss the extent to which these tenets regarding seamounts may be inappropriate, suffer from a lack of support, and be over-generalizations of a broad range of environmental types encountered on seamounts. Ultimately, for seamount science to progress, we need to challenge our conventional wisdom on these habitats and the extent to which all seamounts function in a similar manner.