Abstract

Studies of biodiversity of echinoderms from South America have increased in recent years. Here we summarize sampling done on three expeditions along the Argentinean coast (35º - 55º S) and near the Antarctic Peninsula. The first campaign, Mejillón II (M-II; 2009), was carried out between 35º - 39º S and covered a depth range between 10 to 140 m. The second was part of the Summer Antarctic Campaign 2011 (CAV-III; 2011) that took place around the Antarctic Peninsula, South Shetland and South Orkney Islands (depth range between 67 to 754 m). The last cruise was the final stretch of the Summer Antarctic Campaign 2011 (CAV-IV; 2011), from 39º - 55º S and between 30 - 140 m depth. As result, 74 stations have been studied, of which 68 had at least one echinoderm specimen. From the total number of stations, the occurrence percentages for each class were Asteroidea (68 %), Echinoidea (64 %), Ophiuroidea (55 %), Holothuroidea (51 %) and Crinoidea (20 %). In the M-II campaign, echinoderms were presented in 94 % of the sampled stations, with Echinoidea most frequent (74 %). In the CAV-III campaign echinoderms were presented in all the stations; Ophiuroidea were found in all stations. The lowest occurrence of echinoderms was found in the CAV-IV campaign (82 %), where Asteroidea was present in the 73 % of the samples, and crinoids were absent.

 
Keywords: Echinodermata, biodiversity, B/O Puerto Deseado, Argentine Sea, Antarctica.