Wetland and Aquatic Research Center
Gulf of Mexico-Lophelia II
Diversity, Systematics, and Connectivity of Vulnerable Reef Ecosystems
The 4-year multidisciplinary research program will focus on understanding the physical oceanography, biology, ecology, genetic connectivity, and trophodynamics of deep coral environments in the Gulf of Mexico (300-1000 m depths), both within natural and artificial (shipwreck) sites. The program has integrated a diverse group of collaborators, including scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNC-W), UNC Chapel Hill, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ), and the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS). It is part of a larger effort involving the Minerals Management Service (MMS), NOAA Ocean Explorer, and TDI Brooks. We will use a combination of traditional techniques (for example, photography, quantitative sample collections) and several advanced tools (including remotely operated vehicles, multibeam sonar, benthic landers, and genetic analysis) in order to better understand these critical, poorly studied deep-sea habitats.
USGS Joins BOEM and NOAA to Study Deep Sea Reefs Found on Oil Platforms in Gulf of Mexico
From July 12-23, USGS DISCOVRE team is collaborating with NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration and Research (OER) and BOEM on an interagency research cruise. The goals are to document the occurrence, depth range, population connectivity, and growth rates of deep-sea corals ecosystems, particularly those based on Lophelia pertusa attached to oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico.
NOAA photos, videos and logs from the expedition are being posted to its Ocean Explorer website under the heading of “Lophelia II 2012: Deepwater Platform Corals” at http://oceanexplorer.noaa.gov/explorations/12lophelia/welcome.html.
An Interagency Cruise to map Mid-Atlantic Canyons will be underway 4-17 June 2011. (You are leaving this site) 2,000 Year-old Deep-sea Black Corals call Gulf of Mexico Home (USGS Press Release)
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