Seapen communities

In some locations with soft sediments sea pens are found in high densities. In Norway this biotope is found in the relatively warm Atlantic water shallower than 700 m. The most common sea pen species are Funiculina quadrangularis, Virgularia mirabilis, Pennatula phosforea and Kophobelemnon stelliferum. The Norway lobster (Nephrops norvegicus), squat lobster (Munida sarsi) and sea cucumber (Stichopus tremulus) are also common in this VME. In OSPAR’s list of threatened and/or declining habitats, this biotope is termed “sea-pens and burrowing megafauna communities”.

The sea pen Kophobelemnon stelliferum is common in fjords and in the deep channels out on the continental shelf.

Field of Kophobelemnon sea pen and burrows in the south continental shelf break. Image: MFRI.

Dense stand of colonies of the sea pen Pennatula sp. in Háfadjúp canyon south of Iceland at the depth of 500-700 m. Image: MFRI.