Highly localized concentrations of elasmobranch egg capsules of the deep-water skate Bathyraja richardsoni were discovered during the first remotely operated vehicle (ROV) survey of the Hebrides Terrace Seamount in the Rockall Trough, north-east Atlantic Ocean. Conductivity-temperature-depth profiling indicated that the eggs were bathed in a specific environmental niche of well-oxygenated waters between 4·20 and 4·55° C, and salinity 34·95-35·06, on a coarse to fine-grained sandy seabed on the seamount's eastern flank, whereas a second type of egg capsule (possibly belonging to the skate Dipturus sp.) was recorded exclusively amongst the reef-building stony coral Solenosmilia variabilis. The depths of both egg-laying habitats (1489-1580 m) provide a de facto refuge from fisheries mortality for younger life stages of these skates.
Keywords: deep sea; elasmobranch; environment; habitat; reproduction.
© 2016 The Authors. Journal of Fish Biology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of The Fisheries Society of the British Isles.