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DISCOVRE - Diversity, Systematics and Connectivity of Vulnerable Reef Ecosystems Project:

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.


Image courtesy of Deepwater Canyons 2012 Expedition, NOAA-OER/BOEM

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.

Research THEMES

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.

Media Inquiries: Amanda Demopoulos, (352) 264-3490,

News & Events

>>> Dr. Nancy Prouty will attend the NOAA Pacific Islands Deep-Sea Coral Research Needs Workshop from April 22-23, 2014, at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu.

>>> Dr. Amanda Demopoulos (USGS-SESC), Katharine Coykendall (LSC) and Kaitlin Kovacs (SESC-CNTS) are participating in a research cruise led by Dr. Erik Cordes (Temple University) aboard the UNOLS ship Atlantis from April 27 – May 16, 2014 in the Gulf of Mexico. Scientists aim to study the impacts of ocean acidification on deep-sea coral systems (Lophelia pertusa) utilizing the human operated vehicle (HOV) Alvin, which was just reconstructed and verified as functional for scientific research and exploration, as well as the autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) Sentry. The research cruise will be featured in the documentary, Acid Horizon, which details the life and challenges of a deep sea research scientist in his quest to understand ocean acidification. Follow the Acid Horizon tumblr page for cruise updates: (POC: Amanda Demopoulos,

>>> Dr. Jill Bourque and Kate Stamler (CNTS) from the Benthic Ecology Lab (USGS-SESC) were invited to participate in a deep-sea research expedition from April 10 through May 20. This expedition is part of the Hadal Ecosystems Studies (HADES) program, a collaborative project lead by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution that includes scientists from many institutions from around the world. Research will focus on remote, ultra-deep sea (6000-11000 m) ecosystems around the Kermadec Trench off the coast of New Zealand using the HROV Nereus and benthic landers. By examining seafloor topography, food supply, effects of pressure, and community structure, this program represents the most comprehensive ecosystem-based examination of marine trenches conducted to date. Research at Kermadec Trench and environs will lay the foundation for future deep-sea research in the Mariana and Puerto Rico trenches. (POC: Amanda Demopoulos,

>>> New Sound Waves article by Dr. Nancy Prouty and Helen Gibbons about "Deep-sea corals record human impact on watershed quality in the Mississippi River Basin"


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