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Life on the Edge: Extreme Corals 2010

Coral is an animal, not a plant, and deep-sea corals do not require sunlight or warm water to live. Like shallow tropical corals, deep-sea coral provides habitat for fish and other marine life. Recent research has revealed the extent and ecological importance of deep-sea coral communities and the threats they face. Sound management of these ecosystems requires scientifically based information on their distribution and condition. In July 2010, based on a proposal from South Atlantic Fishery Management Council, the Department of Commerce designated the largest marine managed area on the U.S. east coast to protect deep coral ecosystems from North Carolina to Florida.

NOAA’s Deep Sea Coral Research and Technology Program is sponsoring an expedition in November 2010, to explore deep sea coral ecosystems off the Southeast U.S. led by Chief Scientists, Dr. Steve Ross (University of North Carolina Wilmington) and Dr. Sandra Brooke (Marine Conservation Biology Institute). Partners on this expedition include the Cooperative Institute for Ocean Exploration, Research and Technology (CIOERT), the U.S. Geological Survey, and several other government, academic and education partners. The expedition aboard the NOAA ship Ron Brown departs Pensacola, FL on November 9 and will return to Port Canaveral, FL on November 23. The Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) Jason / Medea, operated by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, will be the major exploration tool.


Learn more and follow the expedition through the following resources:

For more information on Extreme Corals 2010, contact Andrew Shepard.



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