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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

The USGS DISCOVRE program represents an ecosystem-based scientific program investigating hard bottom habitats, seamounts, submarine canyons, and shipwrecks. Investigators are examining the biological, chemical, and physical oceanography in these areas to help understand the community structure, connectivity, and trophodynamics of deep-sea ecosystems.

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. Amanda Demopoulos (USGS-SESC) and Dr. Jason Chaytor (WHCMSC) are co-chief scientists on a research cruise investigating seamounts and surrounding environments in the Eastern Caribbean near the British Virgin Islands. They will sail aboard the E/V Nautilus from September 3rd through the 14th and will be joined by fellow USGS and academic scientists, Brian Andrews (WHCMSC) and Shannon Hoy (USGS CNTS-WHCMSC), Dr. Jill Bourque (USGS CNTS-SESC) and Jennie McClain-Counts (USGS-SESC), and Dr. Erik Cordes (Temple University). Drs. Uri ten Brink (WHCMSC), Nancy Prouty (PCMSC) and Cheryl Morrison (LSC) will be participating via telepresence from shore. The primary objectives include characterizing the geology, geomorphology, and ecology of the seamounts, including deep-sea coral habitats and associated communities. Follow the expedition in real-time, and interact with scientists and educators on board online at This expedition builds upon the 2013 research cruise, which is featured in Sound Waves ( In 2013, Demopoulos, Chaytor, Andrews, and ten Brink embarked on the E/V Nautilus to explore geological hazards around Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. (POC: Amanda Demopoulos,

  • Biodiversity and community composition of sediment macrofauna associated with deep-sea Lophelia pertusa habitats in the Gulf of Mexico. [Journal Article]

  • Coral communities as indicators of ecosystem-level impacts of the Deepwater Horizon Spill.

  • Global Ocean Conveyor Lowers Extinction Risk in the Deep Sea. [Journal Article]

  • all publications

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