Macro- and megafauna were recorded in the submarine Bari Canyon, located in the southern Adriatic Sea (Mediterranean Sea) during an oceanographic cruise carried out in May-June 2012 and an experimental fishing survey conducted in November 2013.
During the former, 20 benthic samples were taken using a Van Veen grab at depths between 268 and 770 m and four deployments of a baited lander, for approximately 43 hours of video records, were carried out at depths between 443 and 788 m. During the
latter, eight longline fishing operations were conducted from 338 m down to 612 m. Eighty-five living benthic and bentho-pelagic species were recorded: 29 Porifera, 1 Cnidaria, 2 Mollusca, 11 Annelida, 1 Arthropoda, 19 Bryozoa, 3 Echinodermata, and 19 Chordata. Fifty-one species are new records for the Bari Canyon, and 29 species are new records for the Adriatic Sea. Among the Porifera Cerbaris curvispiculifer is a new addition for the Italian sponge fauna. The first confirmed record of living specimens of the bryozoan Crisia tenella longinodata is reported. A total of six Mediterranean endemic species have been identified, four Porifera and two Annelida. The bathymetric range of some species has been extended. New information acquired for deep sea species confirms their importance in the structure of cold-water coral communities. This study has updated knowledge on the biodiversity of the Adriatic Sea, as well as of the Bari Canyon in particular, one of the sites designated as “jewels of the Mediterranean” for which urgent conservation measures are needed.