Southeast Ecological Science Center
The U.S. Geological Survey’s DISCOVRE project brings together a multi-disciplinary team to study the biology, ecology, and connectivity of deep-sea coral environments with the goal of providing the science necessary for their effective conservation and management.
This 5-year multidisciplinary research program will investigate hard bottom habitats, shipwrecks, and submarine canyons on the continental margin of the eastern United States off Virginia and Maryland. Investigators will examine the biological, chemical and physical oceanography in these areas to help understand the community structure, connectivity and trophodynamics of deep-sea ecosystems in submarine canyons.
Characterizing the community structure and food webs of deep-sea coral and seep invertebrates.
Identifying and characterizing microbial communities associated with corals, at the base of the soft-sediment food webs, and in biofilms on hard substrates.
Using long-lived black corals as archives to determine the climate and ocean chemistry over hundreds to thousands of years.
Using genetic tools to characterize local and regional patterns of deep reef connectivity.
By design, the USGS DISCOVRE project is integrated with larger regional efforts involving the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and academic institutions.
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From April 30 and May 27, the USGS DISCOVRE team will participate in a research expedition aboard the NOAA vessel Ronald H. Brown. Using the remotely operated vehicle JASON (WHOI), they will investigate the biology and ecology of deepwater canyons off the eastern coast of the United States. This will be a NOAA signature expedition and will have web coverage on the Ocean Explorer website (http://oceanexplorer.noaa.gov). This work is being conducted in cooperation with BOEM-funded contractors from a variety of academic institutions.
Cultured fungal associates from the deep-sea coral Lophelia pertusa. [Journal Abstract]
Megafaunal-habitat associations at a deep-sea coral mound off North Carolina, USA.
Impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on a deep-water coral community in the Gulf of Mexico. [Journal Abstact]