Asociación bentónicas en bancos de vieira patagónica (Zygochlamys patagonica) en el Mar Argentino
The different aspects of the benthic assemblages at the Patagonian scallop beds in the Argentine Sea (SW Atlantic) were studied. The Patagonian scallop (Zygochlamys patagonica) is a commercial species distributed in the Magellanic Biogeographic Province, and has been commercially exploited since 1996. Temporal and spatial studies were performed in the community composition between 39°50'S and 36°15'S, and between 1998 and 2003, concluding that the species association was persistent after more than 7 years of trawling activities. Species composition in an exclusion area (closed to scallop fishing) did not differ from surrounding fished areas during the studied period, showing only a higher scallop biomass. ABC curves showed a pattern coincident with a non disturbed area in the exclusion area, while the fishing ground coincided with a moderately disturbed area. Epibiont taxa on Zygochlamys patagonica were also studied in the whole area. Thirty nine species were recorded, showing the importance of the scallop as a settlement substrate in the area. Shell repaired damage was registered in many scallops from all the areas and studied years. Potential causes of this sub-lethal damage (mainly predation and fishing effects) are discussed.